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Eur J Biochem. 1997 Aug 1;247(3):843-51.

Association of human immunodeficiency virus Nef protein with actin is myristoylation dependent and influences its subcellular localization.

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  • 1Universitätskliniken des Saarlandes, Institut für Med. Mikrobiologie und Hygiene, Abt. Virologie, Homburg/Saar, Germany.


Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) Nef functions are thought to be mediated via interactions with cellular proteins. Utilizing zone velocity sedimentation in glycerol gradients we found that recombinant HIV-1 Nef non-covalently associates with actin forming a high-molecular-mass complex of 150-300 kDa. This Nef/actin complex was present in human B and T lymphocytes but not in insect cells and was dependent on the N-terminal myristoylation of Nef, whereas the SH3-binding proline motif of Nef was not involved. Despite being myristoylated, HIV-2 Nef did not associate with actin. This might reflect differences in the subcellular localization of Nef since cell-fractionation experiments revealed that HIV-1 Nef was virtually exclusively localized in the cytoskeletal (detergent-insoluble) fraction whereas HIV-2 Nef had significantly reduced affinity for the cytoskeleton. Colocalization experiments in HIV-1-infected CD4+ fibroblasts revealed that Nef/actin complexes may also exist in HIV-infected cells. This novel interaction of HIV-1 Nef with actin provides insight into the association of Nef with cellular structures and reveals general differences in the interactions of the Nef proteins from HIV-1 and HIV-2.

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