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Front Microbiol. 2014 Mar 31;5:127. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2014.00127. eCollection 2014.

HIV-1 Vpr-a still "enigmatic multitasker".

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Cochin Institute, INSERM U1016, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique UMR8104, Université Paris-Descartes Paris, France.


Like other HIV-1 auxiliary proteins, Vpr is conserved within all the human (HIV-1, HIV-2) and simian (SIV) immunodeficiency viruses. However, Vpr and homologous HIV-2, and SIV Vpx are the only viral auxiliary proteins specifically incorporated into virus particles through direct interaction with the Gag precursor, indicating that this presence in the core of the mature virions is mainly required for optimal establishment of the early steps of the virus life cycle in the newly infected cell. In spite of its small size, a plethora of effects and functions have been attributed to Vpr, including induction of cell cycle arrest and apoptosis, modulation of the fidelity of reverse transcription, nuclear import of viral DNA in macrophages and other non-dividing cells, and transcriptional modulation of viral and host cell genes. Even if some more recent studies identified a few cellular targets that HIV-1 Vpr may utilize in order to perform its different tasks, the real role and functions of Vpr during the course of natural infection are still enigmatic. In this review, we will summarize the main reported functions of HIV-1 Vpr and their significance in the context of the viral life cycle.


HIV-1 Vpr; apoptosis; cell cycle; nuclear import; reverse transcription

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