Molecular mechanisms of simian immunodeficiency virus SIV(agm) RNA encapsidation.
ABSTRACT: Primate lentiviruses are composed of several distinct lineages, including human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), HIV-2, and simian immunodeficiency virus SIVagm. HIV-1 and HIV-2 have significant differences in the mechanisms of viral RNA encapsidation. Therefore, the RNA packaging mechanisms of SIVagm cannot be predicted from the studies of HIV-1 and HIV-2. We examined the roles of the nucleocapsid (NC) zinc finger motifs on RNA packaging by mutating the conserved zinc finger (CCHC) motifs, and whether SIVagm has a preference to package RNA in cis by comparing the RNA packaging efficiencies of gag mutants in the presence of a wild-type vector. Our results indicate that the SIVagm NC domain plays an important role in Gag-RNA recognition; furthermore SIVagm is distinct from the other currently known primate lentiviruses as destroying either zinc finger motif in the NC causes very drastic RNA packaging defects. Additionally, trans-packaging is a major mechanism for SIVagm RNA encapsidation.
Project description:A specific interaction between the nucleocapsid (NC) domain of the Gag polyprotein and the RNA encapsidation signal (Psi) is required for preferential incorporation of the retroviral genomic RNA into the assembled virion. Using the yeast three-hybrid system, we developed a genetic screen to detect human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) Gag mutants with altered RNA binding specificities. Specifically, we randomly mutated full-length HIV-1 Gag or its NC portion and screened the mutants for an increase in affinity for the Harvey murine sarcoma virus encapsidation signal. These screens identified several NC zinc finger mutants with altered RNA binding specificities. Furthermore, additional zinc finger mutants that also demonstrated this phenotype were made by site-directed mutagenesis. The majority of these mutants were able to produce normal virion-like particles; however, when tested in a single-cycle infection assay, some of the mutants demonstrated higher transduction efficiencies than that of wild-type Gag. In particular, the N17K mutant showed a seven- to ninefold increase in transduction, which correlated with enhanced vector RNA packaging. This mutant also packaged larger amounts of foreign RNA. Our results emphasize the importance of the NC zinc fingers, and not other Gag sequences, in achieving specificity in the genome encapsidation process. In addition, the described mutations may contribute to our understanding of HIV diversity resulting from recombination events between copackaged viral genomes and foreign RNA.
Project description:Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and other retroviruses harbor short peptide motifs in Gag that promote the release of infectious virions. These motifs, known as late assembly (L) domains, recruit a cellular budding machinery that is required for the formation of multivesicular bodies (MVBs). The primary L domain of HIV-1 maps to a PTAP motif in the p6 region of Gag and engages the MVB pathway by binding to Tsg101. Additionally, HIV-1 p6 harbors an auxiliary L domain that binds to the V domain of ALIX, another component of the MVB pathway. We now show that ALIX also binds to the nucleocapsid (NC) domain of HIV-1 Gag and that ALIX and its isolated Bro1 domain can be specifically packaged into viral particles via NC. The interaction with ALIX depended on the zinc fingers of NC, which mediate the specific packaging of genomic viral RNA, but was not disrupted by nuclease treatment. We also observed that HIV-1 zinc finger mutants were defective for particle production and exhibited a similar defect in Gag processing as a PTAP deletion mutant. The effects of the zinc finger and PTAP mutations were not additive, suggesting a functional relationship between NC and p6. However, in contrast to the PTAP deletion mutant, the double mutants could not be rescued by overexpressing ALIX, further supporting the notion that NC plays a role in virus release.
Project description:The retroviral nucleocapsid (NC) protein is necessary for the specific encapsidation of the viral genomic RNA by the assembling virion. However, it is unclear whether NC contains the determinants for the specific recognition of the viral RNA or instead contributes nonspecific RNA contacts to strengthen a specific contact made elsewhere in the Gag polyprotein. To discriminate between these two possibilities, we have swapped the NC domains of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and Moloney murine leukemia virus (M-MuLV), generating an HIV-1 mutant containing the M-MuLV NC domain and an M-MuLV mutant containing the HIV-1 NC domain. These mutants, as well as several others, were characterized for their abilities to encapsidate HIV-1, M-MuLV, and nonviral RNAs and to preferentially package genomic viral RNAs over spliced viral RNAs. We found that the M-MuLV NC domain mediates the specific packaging of RNAs containing the M-MuLV psi packaging element, while the HIV-1 NC domain confers an ability to package the unspliced HIV-1 RNA over spliced HIV-1 RNAs. In addition, we found that the HIV-1 mutant containing the M-MuLV NC domain exhibited a 20-fold greater ability than wild-type HIV-1 to package a nonviral RNA. These results help confirm the notion that the NC domain specifically recognizes the retroviral genomic RNA during RNA encapsidation.
Project description:Retroviral RNA encapsidation involves a recognition event between genomic RNA (gRNA) and one or more domains in Gag. In HIV-1, the nucleocapsid (NC) domain is involved in gRNA packaging and displays robust nucleic acid (NA) binding and chaperone functions. In comparison, NC of human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1), a deltaretrovirus, displays weaker NA binding and chaperone activity. Mutation of conserved charged residues in the deltaretrovirus bovine leukemia virus (BLV) matrix (MA) and NC domains affects virus replication and gRNA packaging efficiency. Based on these observations, we hypothesized that the MA domain may generally contribute to NA binding and genome encapsidation in deltaretroviruses. Here, we examined the interaction between HTLV-2 and HIV-1 MA proteins and various NAs in vitro. HTLV-2 MA displays higher NA binding affinity and better chaperone activity than HIV-1 MA. HTLV-2 MA also binds NAs with higher affinity than HTLV-2 NC and displays more robust chaperone function. Mutation of two basic residues in HTLV-2 MA ?-helix II, previously implicated in BLV gRNA packaging, reduces NA binding affinity. HTLV-2 MA binds with high affinity and specificity to RNA derived from the putative packaging signal of HTLV-2 relative to nonspecific NA. Furthermore, an HIV-1 MA triple mutant designed to mimic the basic character of HTLV-2 MA ?-helix II dramatically improves binding affinity and chaperone activity of HIV-1 MA in vitro and restores RNA packaging to a ?NC HIV-1 variant in cell-based assays. Taken together, these results are consistent with a role for deltaretrovirus MA proteins in viral RNA packaging.
Project description:The apolipoprotein B mRNA-editing enzyme catalytic polypeptide-like 3 (APOBEC3) proteins are cell-encoded cytidine deaminases, some of which, such as APOBEC3G (A3G) and APOBEC3F (A3F), act as potent human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1) restriction factors. These proteins require packaging into HIV-1 particles to exert their antiviral activities, but the molecular mechanism by which this occurs is incompletely understood. The nucleocapsid (NC) region of HIV-1 Gag is required for efficient incorporation of A3G and A3F, and the interaction between A3G and NC has previously been shown to be RNA-dependent. Here, we address this issue in detail by first determining which RNAs are able to bind to A3G and A3F in HV-1 infected cells, as well as in cell-free virions, using the unbiased individual-nucleotide resolution UV cross-linking and immunoprecipitation (iCLIP) method. We show that A3G and A3F bind many different types of RNA, including HIV-1 RNA, cellular mRNAs and small non-coding RNAs such as the Y or 7SL RNAs. Interestingly, A3G/F incorporation is unaffected when the levels of packaged HIV-1 genomic RNA (gRNA) and 7SL RNA are reduced, implying that these RNAs are not essential for efficient A3G/F packaging. Confirming earlier work, HIV-1 particles formed with Gag lacking the NC domain (Gag ?NC) fail to encapsidate A3G/F. Here, we exploit this system by demonstrating that the addition of an assortment of heterologous RNA-binding proteins and domains to Gag ?NC efficiently restored A3G/F packaging, indicating that A3G and A3F have the ability to engage multiple RNAs to ensure viral encapsidation. We propose that the rather indiscriminate RNA binding characteristics of A3G and A3F promote functionality by enabling recruitment into a wide range of retroviral particles whose packaged RNA genomes comprise divergent sequences.
Project description:Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) Gag and genomic RNA determinants required for encapsidation are well established, but where and when encapsidation occurs in the cell is unknown. We constructed MS2 phage coat protein labeling systems to track spatial dynamics of primate and nonprimate lentiviral genomic RNAs (HIV-1 and feline immunodeficiency virus [FIV]) vis-à-vis their Gag proteins in live cells. Genomic RNAs of both lentiviral genera were observed to traffic into the cytoplasm, and this was Rev dependent. In transit, FIV Gag and genomic RNA accumulated independently of each other at the nuclear envelope, and focal colocalizations of genomic RNA with an intact packaging signal (psi) and Gag were observed to extend outward from the cytoplasmic face. In contrast, although HIV-1 genomic RNA was detected at the nuclear envelope, HIV-1 Gag was not. For both lentiviruses, genomic RNAs were seen at the plasma membrane if and only if Gag was present and psi was intact. In addition, HIV-1 and FIV genomes accumulated with Gag in late endosomal foci, again, only psi dependently. Thus, lentiviral genomic RNAs require specific Gag binding to accumulate at the plasma membrane, packaged genomes cointernalize with Gag into the endosomal pathway, and plasma membrane RNA incorporation by Gag does not trigger committed lentiviral particle egress from the cell. Based on the FIV results, we hypothesize that the Gag-genome association may initiate at the nuclear envelope.
Project description:Gag orchestrates the assembly and release of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) particles. We explored here the potential of anti-Gag RNA aptamers to inhibit HIV-1 replication. In vitro, RNA aptamers raised against an HIV-1 Gag protein, lacking the N-terminal myristate and the C-terminal p6 (DP6-Gag), could bind to matrix protein (MA), nucleocapsid protein (NC), or entire DP6-Gag protein. Upon cotransfection with pNL4-3.Luc molecular clone into 293T cells, six of the aptamers caused mild inhibition (2- to 3-fold) in the extracellular capsid levels, and one aptamer displayed 20-fold inhibition. The reduction was not due to a release defect but reflected Gag mRNA levels. We hypothesized that the aptamers influence genomic RNA levels via perturbation of specific Gag-genomic RNA interactions. Binding studies revealed that the "NC-binders" specifically compete with the packaging signal (?) of HIV-1 for binding to DP6-Gag. Therefore, we tested the ability of two NC-binders to inhibit viruses containing ?-region deletions (?SL1 or ?SL3) and found that the NC-binders were no longer able to inhibit Gag synthesis. The inability of these aptamers to inhibit ?-deleted viruses correlated with the absence of competition with the corresponding ? transcripts lacking SL1 or SL3 for binding DP6-Gag in vitro. These results indicate that the NC-binding aptamers disrupt Gag-genomic RNA interaction and negatively affect genomic RNA transcription, processing, or stability. Our results reveal an essential interaction between HIV-1 Gag and the ?-region that may be distinct from that which occurs during the encapsidation of genomic RNA. Thus, anti-Gag aptamers can be an effective tool to perturb Gag-genomic RNA interactions.
Project description:The process of HIV-1 genomic RNA (gRNA) encapsidation is governed by a number of viral encoded components, most notably the Gag protein and gRNA cis elements in the canonical packaging signal (?). Also implicated in encapsidation are cis determinants in the R, U5, and PBS (primer binding site) from the 5' untranslated region (UTR). Although conventionally associated with nuclear export of HIV-1 RNA, there is a burgeoning role for the Rev/RRE in the encapsidation process. Pleiotropic effects exhibited by these cis and trans viral components may confound the ability to examine their independent, and combined, impact on encapsidation of RNA into HIV-1 viral particles in their innate viral context. We systematically reconstructed the HIV-1 packaging system in the context of a heterologous murine leukemia virus (MLV) vector RNA to elucidate a mechanism in which the Rev/RRE system is central to achieving efficient and specific encapsidation into HIV-1 viral particles.We show for the first time that the Rev/RRE system can augment RNA encapsidation independent of all cis elements from the 5' UTR (R, U5, PBS, and ?). Incorporation of all the 5' UTR cis elements did not enhance RNA encapsidation in the absence of the Rev/RRE system. In fact, we demonstrate that the Rev/RRE system is required for specific and efficient encapsidation commonly associated with the canonical packaging signal. The mechanism of Rev/RRE-mediated encapsidation is not a general phenomenon, since the combination of the Rev/RRE system and 5' UTR cis elements did not enhance encapsidation into MLV-derived viral particles. Lastly, we show that heterologous MLV RNAs conform to transduction properties commonly associated with HIV-1 viral particles, including in vivo transduction of non-dividing cells (i.e. mouse neurons); however, the cDNA forms are episomes predominantly in the 1-LTR circle form.Premised on encapsidation of a heterologous RNA into HIV-1 viral particles, our findings define a functional HIV-1 packaging system as comprising the 5' UTR cis elements, Gag, and the Rev/RRE system, in which the Rev/RRE system is required to make the RNA amenable to the ensuing interaction between Gag and the canonical packaging signal for subsequent encapsidation.
Project description:During retroviral RNA encapsidation, two full-length genomic (g) RNAs are selectively incorporated into assembling virions. Packaging involves a cis-acting packaging element (?) within the 5' untranslated region of unspliced HIV-1 RNA genome. However, the mechanism(s) that selects and limits gRNAs for packaging remains uncertain. Using a dual complementation system involving bipartite HIV-1 gRNA, we observed that gRNA packaging is additionally dependent on a cis-acting RNA element, the genomic RNA packaging enhancer (GRPE), found within the gag p1-p6 domain and overlapping the Gag-Pol ribosomal frameshift signal. Deleting or disrupting the two conserved GRPE stem loops diminished gRNA packaging and infectivity >50-fold, while deleting gag sequences between ? and GRPE had no effect. Downregulating the translation termination factor eRF1 produces defective virus particles containing 20 times more gRNA. Thus, only the HIV-1 RNAs employed for Gag-Pol translation may be specifically selected for encapsidation, possibly explaining the limitation of two gRNAs per virion.
Project description:The RNA packaging process for retroviruses involves a recognition event of the genome-length viral RNA by the viral Gag polyprotein precursor (PrGag), an important step in particle morphogenesis. The mechanism underlying this genome recognition event for most retroviruses is thought to involve an interaction between the nucleocapsid (NC) domain of PrGag and stable RNA secondary structures that form the RNA packaging signal. Presently, there is limited information regarding PrGag-RNA interactions involved in RNA packaging for the deltaretroviruses, which include bovine leukemia virus (BLV) and human T-cell leukemia virus types 1 and 2 (HTLV-1 and -2, respectively). To address this, alanine-scanning mutagenesis of BLV PrGag was done with a virus-like particle (VLP) system. As predicted, mutagenesis of conserved basic residues as well as residues of the zinc finger domains in the BLV NC domain of PrGag revealed residues that led to a reduction in viral RNA packaging. Interestingly, when conserved basic residues in the BLV MA domain of PrGag were mutated to alanine or glycine, but not when mutated to another basic residue, reductions in viral RNA packaging were also observed. The ability of PrGag to be targeted to the cell membrane was not affected by these mutations in MA, indicating that PrGag membrane targeting was not associated with the reduction in RNA packaging. These observations indicate that these basic residues in the MA domain of PrGag influence RNA packaging, without influencing Gag membrane localization. It was further observed that (i) a MA/NC double mutant had a more severe RNA packaging defect than either mutant alone, and (ii) RNA packaging was not found to be associated with transient localization of Gag in the nucleus. In summary, this report provides the first direct evidence for the involvement of both the BLV MA and NC domains of PrGag in viral RNA packaging.