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EMBO J. 1995 Feb 1;14(3):484-91.

Proline-rich (PxxP) motifs in HIV-1 Nef bind to SH3 domains of a subset of Src kinases and are required for the enhanced growth of Nef+ viruses but not for down-regulation of CD4.

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Rockefeller University, New York, NY 10021.


Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and simian immunodeficiency virus Nef proteins contain a conserved motif with the minimal consensus (PxxP) site for Src homology region 3 (SH3)-mediated protein-protein interactions. Nef PxxP motifs show specific binding to biotinylated SH3 domains of Hck and Lyn, but not to those of other tested Src family kinases or less related proteins. A unique cooperative role of a distant proline is also observed. Endogenous Hck of monocytic U937 cells can be specifically precipitated by matrix-bound HIV-1 Nef, but not by mutant protein lacking PxxP. Intact Nef PxxP motifs are dispensable for Nef-induced CD4 down-regulation, but are required for the higher in vitro replicative potential of Nef+ viruses. Thus, CD4 down-regulation and promotion of viral growth are two distinct functions of Nef, and the latter is mediated via SH3 binding.

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