High-resolution structures of HIV-1 Gag cleavage mutants determine structural switch for virus maturation.
ABSTRACT: HIV-1 maturation occurs via multiple proteolytic cleavages of the Gag polyprotein, causing rearrangement of the virus particle required for infectivity. Cleavage results in beta-hairpin formation at the N terminus of the CA (capsid) protein and loss of a six-helix bundle formed by the C terminus of CA and the neighboring SP1 peptide. How individual cleavages contribute to changes in protein structure and interactions, and how the mature, conical capsid forms, are poorly understood. Here, we employed cryoelectron tomography to determine morphology and high-resolution CA lattice structures for HIV-1 derivatives in which Gag cleavage sites are mutated. These analyses prompt us to revise current models for the crucial maturation switch. Unlike previously proposed, cleavage on either terminus of CA was sufficient, in principle, for lattice maturation, while complete processing was needed for conical capsid formation. We conclude that destabilization of the six-helix bundle, rather than beta-hairpin formation, represents the main determinant of structural maturation.
Project description:A short, 14-amino-acid segment called SP1, located in the Gag structural protein1, has a critical role during the formation of the HIV-1 virus particle. During virus assembly, the SP1 peptide and seven preceding residues fold into a six-helix bundle, which holds together the Gag hexamer and facilitates the formation of a curved immature hexagonal lattice underneath the viral membrane2,3. Upon completion of assembly and budding, proteolytic cleavage of Gag leads to virus maturation, in which the immature lattice is broken down; the liberated CA domain of Gag then re-assembles into the mature conical capsid that encloses the viral genome and associated enzymes. Folding and proteolysis of the six-helix bundle are crucial rate-limiting steps of both Gag assembly and disassembly, and the six-helix bundle is an established target of HIV-1 inhibitors4,5. Here, using a combination of structural and functional analyses, we show that inositol hexakisphosphate (InsP6, also known as IP6) facilitates the formation of the six-helix bundle and assembly of the immature HIV-1 Gag lattice. IP6 makes ionic contacts with two rings of lysine residues at the centre of the Gag hexamer. Proteolytic cleavage then unmasks an alternative binding site, where IP6 interaction promotes the assembly of the mature capsid lattice. These studies identify IP6 as a naturally occurring small molecule that promotes both assembly and maturation of HIV-1.
Project description:Retrovirus maturation involves sequential cleavages of the Gag polyprotein, initially arrayed in a spherical shell, leading to formation of capsids with polyhedral or conical morphology. Evidence suggests that capsids assemble de novo inside maturing virions from dissociated capsid (CA) protein, but the possibility persists of a displacive pathway in which the CA shell remains assembled but is remodeled. Inhibition of the final cleavage between CA and spacer peptide SP1/SP blocks the production of mature capsids. We investigated whether retention of SP might render CA assembly incompetent by testing the ability of Rous sarcoma virus (RSV) CA-SP to assemble in vitro into icosahedral capsids. Capsids were indeed assembled and were indistinguishable from those formed by CA alone, indicating that SP was disordered. We also used cryo-electron tomography to characterize HIV-1 particles produced in the presence of maturation inhibitor PF-46396 or with the cleavage-blocking CA5 mutation. Inhibitor-treated virions have a shell that resembles the CA layer of the immature Gag shell but is less complete. Some CA protein is generated but usually not enough for a mature core to assemble. We propose that inhibitors like PF-46396 bind to the Gag lattice where they deny the protease access to the CA-SP1 cleavage site and prevent the release of CA. CA5 particles, which exhibit no cleavage at the CA-SP1 site, have spheroidal shells with relatively thin walls. It appears that this lattice progresses displacively toward a mature-like state but produces neither conical cores nor infectious virions. These observations support the disassembly-reassembly pathway for core formation.
Project description:HIV-1 buds form infected cells in an immature, non-infectious form. Maturation into an infectious virion requires proteolytic cleavage of the Gag polyprotein at five positions, leading to a dramatic change in virus morphology. Immature virions contain an incomplete spherical shell where Gag is arranged with the N-terminal MA domain adjacent to the membrane, the CA domain adopting a hexameric lattice below the membrane, and beneath this, the NC domain and viral RNA forming a disordered layer. After maturation, NC and RNA are condensed within the particle surrounded by a conical CA core. Little is known about the sequence of structural changes that take place during maturation, however. Here we have used cryo-electron tomography and subtomogram averaging to resolve the structure of the Gag lattice in a panel of viruses containing point mutations abolishing cleavage at individual or multiple Gag cleavage sites. These studies describe the structural intermediates correlating with the ordered processing events that occur during the HIV-1 maturation process. After the first cleavage between SP1 and NC, the condensed NC-RNA may retain a link to the remaining Gag lattice. Initiation of disassembly of the immature Gag lattice requires cleavage to occur on both sides of CA-SP1, while assembly of the mature core also requires cleavage of SP1 from CA.
Project description:Late in the HIV-1 replication cycle, the viral structural protein Gag is targeted to virus assembly sites at the plasma membrane of infected cells. The capsid (CA) domain of Gag plays a critical role in the formation of the hexameric Gag lattice in the immature virion, and, during particle release, CA is cleaved from the Gag precursor by the viral protease and forms the conical core of the mature virion. A highly conserved Pro-Pro-Ile-Pro (PPIP) motif (CA residues 122 to 125) [PPIP(122-125)] in a loop connecting CA helices 6 and 7 resides at a 3-fold axis formed by neighboring hexamers in the immature Gag lattice. In this study, we characterized the role of this PPIP(122-125) loop in HIV-1 assembly and maturation. While mutations P123A and P125A were relatively well tolerated, mutation of P122 and I124 significantly impaired virus release, caused Gag processing defects, and abolished infectivity. X-ray crystallography indicated that the P122A and I124A mutations induce subtle changes in the structure of the mature CA lattice which were permissive for in vitro assembly of CA tubes. Transmission electron microscopy and cryo-electron tomography demonstrated that the P122A and I124A mutations induce severe structural defects in the immature Gag lattice and abrogate conical core formation. Propagation of the P122A and I124A mutants in T-cell lines led to the selection of compensatory mutations within CA. Our findings demonstrate that the CA PPIP(122-125) loop comprises a structural element critical for the formation of the immature Gag lattice.IMPORTANCE Capsid (CA) plays multiple roles in the HIV-1 replication cycle. CA-CA domain interactions are responsible for multimerization of the Gag polyprotein at virus assembly sites, and in the mature virion, CA monomers assemble into a conical core that encapsidates the viral RNA genome. Multiple CA regions that contribute to the assembly and release of HIV-1 particles have been mapped and investigated. Here, we identified and characterized a Pro-rich loop in CA that is important for the formation of the immature Gag lattice. Changes in this region disrupt viral production and abrogate the formation of infectious, mature virions. Propagation of the mutants in culture led to the selection of second-site compensatory mutations within CA. These results expand our knowledge of the assembly and maturation steps in the viral replication cycle and may be relevant for development of antiviral drugs targeting CA.
Project description:Human immunodeficiency virus particles undergo a step of proteolytic maturation, in which the main structural polyprotein Gag is cleaved into its mature subunits matrix (MA), capsid (CA), nucleocapsid (NC) and p6. Gag proteolytic processing is accompanied by a dramatic structural rearrangement within the virion, which is necessary for virus infectivity and has been proposed to proceed through a sequence of dissociation and reformation of the capsid lattice. Morphological maturation appears to be tightly regulated, with sequential cleavage events and two small spacer peptides within Gag playing important roles by regulating the disassembly of the immature capsid layer and formation of the mature capsid lattice. In order to measure the influence of individual Gag domains on lattice stability, we established Förster's resonance energy transfer (FRET) reporter virions and employed rapid kinetic FRET and light scatter measurements. This approach allowed us to measure dissociation properties of HIV-1 particles assembled in eukaryotic cells containing Gag proteins in different states of proteolytic processing. While the complex dissociation behavior of the particles prevented an assignment of kinetic rate constants to individual dissociation steps, our analyses revealed characteristic differences in the dissociation properties of the MA layer dependent on the presence of additional domains. The most striking effect observed here was a pronounced stabilization of the MA-CA layer mediated by the presence of the 14 amino acid long spacer peptide SP1 at the CA C-terminus, underlining the crucial role of this peptide for the resolution of the immature particle architecture.
Project description:HIV-1 maturation involves conversion of the immature Gag polyprotein lattice, which lines the inner surface of the viral membrane, to the mature capsid protein (CA) lattice, which encloses the viral RNA. Maturation inhibitors such as bevirimat (BVM) bind within six-helix bundles, formed by a segment that spans the junction between the CA and spacer peptide 1 (SP1) subunits of Gag, and interfere with cleavage between CA and SP1 catalyzed by the HIV-1 protease (PR). We report solid-state NMR (ssNMR) measurements on spherical virus-like particles (VLPs), facilitated by segmental isotopic labeling, that provide information about effects of BVM on the structure and dynamics of CA-SP1 junction helices in the immature lattice. Although BVM strongly blocks PR-catalyzed CA-SP1 cleavage in VLPs and blocks conversion of VLPs to tubular CA assemblies, 15N and 13C ssNMR chemical shifts of segmentally labeled VLPs with and without BVM are very similar, indicating that interaction with BVM does not alter the six-helix bundle structure appreciably. Only the 15N chemical shift of A280 (the first residue of SP1) changes significantly, consistent with BVM binding to an internal ring of hydrophobic side chains of L279 residues. Measurements of transverse 15N spin relaxation rates reveal a reduction in the amplitudes and/or timescales of backbone N-H bond motions, corresponding to a rigidification of the six-helix bundles. Overall, our data show that inhibition of HIV-1 maturation by BVM involves changes in structure and dynamics that are surprisingly subtle, but still sufficient to produce a large effect on CA-SP1 cleavage.
Project description:UNLABELLED:The polyprotein Gag is the primary structural component of retroviruses. Gag consists of independently folded domains connected by flexible linkers. Interactions between the conserved capsid (CA) domains of Gag mediate formation of hexameric protein lattices that drive assembly of immature virus particles. Proteolytic cleavage of Gag by the viral protease (PR) is required for maturation of retroviruses from an immature form into an infectious form. Within the assembled Gag lattices of HIV-1 and Mason-Pfizer monkey virus (M-PMV), the C-terminal domain of CA adopts similar quaternary arrangements, while the N-terminal domain of CA is packed in very different manners. Here, we have used cryo-electron tomography and subtomogram averaging to study in vitro-assembled, immature virus-like Rous sarcoma virus (RSV) Gag particles and have determined the structure of CA and the surrounding regions to a resolution of ?8 Å. We found that the C-terminal domain of RSV CA is arranged similarly to HIV-1 and M-PMV, whereas the N-terminal domain of CA adopts a novel arrangement in which the upstream p10 domain folds back into the CA lattice. In this position the cleavage site between CA and p10 appears to be inaccessible to PR. Below CA, an extended density is consistent with the presence of a six-helix bundle formed by the spacer-peptide region. We have also assessed the affect of lattice assembly on proteolytic processing by exogenous PR. The cleavage between p10 and CA is indeed inhibited in the assembled lattice, a finding consistent with structural regulation of proteolytic maturation. IMPORTANCE:Retroviruses first assemble into immature virus particles, requiring interactions between Gag proteins that form a protein layer under the viral membrane. Subsequently, Gag is cleaved by the viral protease enzyme into separate domains, leading to rearrangement of the virus into its infectious form. It is important to understand how Gag is arranged within immature retroviruses, in order to understand how virus assembly occurs, and how maturation takes place. We used the techniques cryo-electron tomography and subtomogram averaging to obtain a detailed structural picture of the CA domains in immature assembled Rous sarcoma virus Gag particles. We found that part of Gag next to CA, called p10, folds back and interacts with CA when Gag assembles. This arrangement is different from that seen in HIV-1 and Mason-Pfizer monkey virus, illustrating further structural diversity of retroviral structures. The structure provides new information on how the virus assembles and undergoes maturation.
Project description:The formation of the HIV-1 core is the final step in the viral maturation pathway, resulting in the formation of infectious virus. Most current models for HIV-1 core formation suggest that, upon proteolytic cleavage from the immature Gag, capsid (CA) dissociates into the viral interior before reforming into the core. Here we present evidence for an alternate view of core formation by taking advantage of our serendipitous observation of large membrane-enclosed structures in HIV-1 supernatants from infected cells. Cryo-electron tomographic studies show that these structures, which contain ordered arrays of what is likely the membrane-associated matrix protein, contain multiple cores that can be captured at different stages of maturation. Our studies suggest that HIV maturation involves a non-diffusional phase transition in which the detaching layer of the cleaved CA lattice is gradually converted into a roll that ultimately forms the surface of the mature conical core.
Project description:Immature retroviral particles are assembled by self-association of the structural polyprotein precursor Gag. During maturation the Gag polyprotein is proteolytically cleaved, yielding mature structural proteins, matrix (MA), capsid (CA), and nucleocapsid (NC), that reassemble into a mature viral particle. Proteolytic cleavage causes the N terminus of CA to fold back to form a β-hairpin, anchored by an internal salt bridge between the N-terminal proline and the inner aspartate. Using an in vitro assembly system of capsid-nucleocapsid protein (CANC), we studied the formation of virus-like particles (VLP) of a gammaretrovirus, the xenotropic murine leukemia virus (MLV)-related virus (XMRV). We show here that, unlike other retroviruses, XMRV CA and CANC do not assemble tubular particles characteristic of mature assembly. The prevention of β-hairpin formation by the deletion of either the N-terminal proline or 10 initial amino acids enabled the assembly of ΔProCANC or Δ10CANC into immature-like spherical particles. Detailed three-dimensional (3D) structural analysis of these particles revealed that below a disordered N-terminal CA layer, the C terminus of CA assembles a typical immature lattice, which is linked by rod-like densities with the RNP.
Project description:During retrovirus particle maturation, the assembled Gag polyprotein is cleaved by the viral protease into matrix (MA), capsid (CA), and nucleocapsid (NC) proteins. To form the mature viral capsid, CA rearranges, resulting in a lattice composed of hexameric and pentameric CA units. Recent structural studies of assembled HIV-1 CA revealed several inter-subunit interfaces in the capsid lattice, including a three-fold interhexamer interface that is critical for proper capsid stability. Although a general architecture of immature particles has been provided by cryo-electron tomographic studies, the structural details of the immature particle and the maturation pathway remain unknown. Here, we used cryo-electron microscopy (cryoEM) to determine the structure of tubular assemblies of the HIV-1 CA-SP1-NC protein. Relative to the mature assembled CA structure, we observed a marked conformational difference in the position of the CA-CTD relative to the NTD in the CA-SP1-NC assembly, involving the flexible hinge connecting the two domains. This difference was verified via engineered disulfide crosslinking, revealing that inter-hexamer contacts, in particular those at the pseudo three-fold axis, are altered in the CA-SP1-NC assemblies compared to the CA assemblies. Results from crosslinking analyses of mature and immature HIV-1 particles containing the same Cys substitutions in the Gag protein are consistent with these findings. We further show that cleavage of preassembled CA-SP1-NC by HIV-1 protease in vitro leads to release of SP1 and NC without disassembly of the lattice. Collectively, our results indicate that the proteolytic cleavage of Gag leads to a structural reorganization of the polypeptide and creates the three-fold interhexamer interface, important for the formation of infectious HIV-1 particles.