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J Virol. 2013 Apr;87(8):4650-64. doi: 10.1128/JVI.03526-12. Epub 2013 Feb 13.

Roles played by capsid-dependent induction of membrane curvature and Gag-ESCRT interactions in tetherin recruitment to HIV-1 assembly sites.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.


Tetherin/BST-2 (here called tetherin) is an antiviral protein that restricts release of diverse enveloped viruses from infected cells through physically tethering virus envelope and host plasma membrane. For HIV-1, specific recruitment of tetherin to assembly sites has been observed as its colocalization with the viral structural protein Gag or its accumulation in virus particles. Because of its broad range of targets, we hypothesized that tetherin is recruited through conserved features shared among various enveloped viruses, such as lipid raft association, membrane curvature, or ESCRT dependence. We observed that reduction of cellular cholesterol does not block tetherin anti-HIV-1 function, excluding an essential role for lipid rafts. In contrast, mutations in the capsid domain of Gag, which inhibit induction of membrane curvature, prevented tetherin-Gag colocalization detectable by confocal microscopy. Disruption of Gag-ESCRT interactions also inhibited tetherin-Gag colocalization when disruption was accomplished via amino acid substitutions in late domain motifs, expression of a dominant-negative Tsg101 derivative, or small interfering RNA (siRNA)-mediated depletion of Tsg101 or Alix. However, further analyses of these conditions by quantitative superresolution localization microscopy revealed that Gag-tetherin coclustering is significantly reduced but persists at intermediate levels. Notably, this residual tetherin recruitment was still sufficient for the full restriction of HIV-1 release. Unlike the late domain mutants, the capsid mutants defective in inducing membrane curvature showed little or no coclustering with tetherin in superresolution analyses. These results support a model in which both Gag-induced membrane curvature and Gag-ESCRT interactions promote tetherin recruitment, but the recruitment level achieved by the former is sufficient for full restriction.

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