Genetic and biochemical analyses of the Gag protein of HIV-I indicate a crucial role for this protein in several functions related to viral replication, including viral assembly. It has been suggested that Gag may fulfill some of the functions by recruiting host cellular protein(s). In our effort to identify structural and functional homologies between Gag and cellular cytoskeletal and secretory proteins involved in transport, we observed that HIV-1 Gag contains a unique PGQM motif in the capsid region. This motif was initially noted in the regulatory domain of synexin the membrane fusion protein of Xenopus laevis. To evaluate the functional significance of the highly conserved PGQM motif, we introduced alanine (A) in place of individual residues of the PGQM and deleted the motif altogether in a Gag expression plasmid and in an HIV-1 proviral DNA. The proviral DNA containing mutations in the PGQM motif showed altered expression, assembly, and release of viral particles in comparison to parental (NL4-3) DNA. When tested in multiple and single-round replication assays, the mutant viruses exhibited distinct replication phenotypes; the viruses containing the A for the G and Q residues failed to replicate, whereas A in place of the P and M residues did not inhibit vital replication. Deletion of the tetrapeptide also resulted in the inhibition of replication. These results suggest that the PGQM motif may play an important role in the infection process of HIV-1 by facilitating protein-protein interactions between viral and/for viral and cellular proteins.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|Publication status||Published - Mar 16 1999|
- Gag precursor
- Viral assembly
ASJC Scopus subject areas