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FEBS J. 2012 Oct;279(19):3705-3714. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-4658.2012.08732.x. Epub 2012 Aug 31.

Mapping the interaction between the cytoplasmic domains of HIV-1 viral protein U and human CD4 with NMR spectroscopy.

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Institute of Complex Systems (ICS-6), Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany.
Institut für Physikalische Biologie, Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, Germany.


Viral protein U (VpU) of HIV-1 plays an important role in downregulation of the main HIV-1 receptor CD4 from the surface of infected cells. Physical binding of VpU to newly synthesized CD4 in the endoplasmic reticulum is an early step in a pathway leading to proteasomal degradation of CD4. In this study, regions in the cytoplasmic domain of VpU involved in CD4 binding were identified by NMR spectroscopy. Amino acids in both helices found in the cytoplasmic region of VpU in membrane-mimicking detergent micelles experience chemical shift perturbations upon binding to CD4, whereas amino acids between the two helices and at the C-terminus of VpU show no or only small changes, respectively. The topology of the complex was further studied with paramagnetic relaxation enhancement. Paramagnetic spin labels were attached at three sequence positions of a CD4 peptide comprising the transmembrane and cytosolic domains of the receptor. VpU binds to a membrane-proximal region in the cytoplasmic domain of CD4.

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