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Mol Biol Cell. 2012 Jun;23(11):2184-97. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E11-11-0928. Epub 2012 Apr 11.

An interdomain binding site on HIV-1 Nef interacts with PACS-1 and PACS-2 on endosomes to down-regulate MHC-I.

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Vollum Institute, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR 97239, USA.


The human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) accessory protein Nef directs virus escape from immune surveillance by subverting host cell intracellular signaling and membrane traffic to down-regulate cell-surface major histocompatibility complex class I (MHC-I). The interaction of Nef with the sorting proteins PACS-1 and PACS-2 mediates key signaling and trafficking steps required for Nef-mediated MHC-I down-regulation. Little is known, however, about the molecular basis underlying the Nef-PACS interaction. Here we identify the sites on Nef and the PACS proteins required for their interaction and describe the consequences of disrupting this interaction for Nef action. A previously unidentified cargo subsite on PACS-1 and PACS-2 interacted with a bipartite site on Nef formed by the EEEE(65) acidic cluster on the N-terminal domain and W(113) in the core domain. Mutation of these sites prevented the interaction between Nef and the PACS proteins on Rab5 (PACS-2 and PACS-1)- or Rab7 (PACS-1)-positive endosomes as determined by bimolecular fluorescence complementation and caused a Nef mutant defective in PACS binding to localize to distorted endosomal compartments. Consequently, disruption of the Nef-PACS interaction repressed Nef-induced MHC-I down-regulation in peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Our results provide insight into the molecular basis of Nef action and suggest new strategies to combat HIV-1.

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