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J Virol. 2018 Jan 30;92(4). pii: e01563-17. doi: 10.1128/JVI.01563-17. Print 2018 Feb 15.

General Model for Retroviral Capsid Pattern Recognition by TRIM5 Proteins.

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Department of Molecular Physiology and Biological Physics, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA.
Department of Biochemistry, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.
Department of Biochemistry and Cancer Therapy and Research Center, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas, USA.
Department of Molecular Physiology and Biological Physics, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA


Restriction factors are intrinsic cellular defense proteins that have evolved to block microbial infections. Retroviruses such as HIV-1 are restricted by TRIM5 proteins, which recognize the viral capsid shell that surrounds, organizes, and protects the viral genome. TRIM5α uses a SPRY domain to bind capsids with low intrinsic affinity (KD of >1 mM) and therefore requires higher-order assembly into a hexagonal lattice to generate sufficient avidity for productive capsid recognition. TRIMCyp, on the other hand, binds HIV-1 capsids through a cyclophilin A domain, which has a well-defined binding site and higher affinity (KD of ∼10 μM) for isolated capsid subunits. Therefore, it has been argued that TRIMCyp proteins have dispensed with the need for higher-order assembly to function as antiviral factors. Here, we show that, consistent with its high degree of sequence similarity with TRIM5α, the TRIMCyp B-box 2 domain shares the same ability to self-associate and facilitate assembly of a TRIMCyp hexagonal lattice that can wrap about the HIV-1 capsid. We also show that under stringent experimental conditions, TRIMCyp-mediated restriction of HIV-1 is indeed dependent on higher-order assembly. Both forms of TRIM5 therefore use the same mechanism of avidity-driven capsid pattern recognition.IMPORTANCE Rhesus macaques and owl monkeys are highly resistant to HIV-1 infection due to the activity of TRIM5 restriction factors. The rhesus macaque TRIM5α protein blocks HIV-1 through a mechanism that requires self-assembly of a hexagonal TRIM5α lattice around the invading viral core. Lattice assembly amplifies very weak interactions between the TRIM5α SPRY domain and the HIV-1 capsid. Assembly also promotes dimerization of the TRIM5α RING E3 ligase domain, resulting in synthesis of polyubiquitin chains that mediate downstream steps of restriction. In contrast to rhesus TRIM5α, the owl monkey TRIM5 homolog, TRIMCyp, binds isolated HIV-1 CA subunits much more tightly through its cyclophilin A domain and therefore was thought to act independently of higher-order assembly. Here, we show that TRIMCyp shares the assembly properties of TRIM5α and that both forms of TRIM5 use the same mechanism of hexagonal lattice formation to promote viral recognition and restriction.


pattern recognition; restriction factor; retrovirus

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