Influenza A virus (IAV) enters host cells upon binding of its hemagglutinin glycoprotein to sialylated host cell receptors. Whereas dynamin-dependent, clathrin-mediated endocytosis (CME) is generally considered as the IAV infection pathway, some observations suggest the occurrence of an as yet uncharacterized alternative entry route. By manipulating entry parameters we established experimental conditions that allow the separate analysis of dynamin-dependent and -independent entry of IAV. Whereas entry of IAV in phosphate-buffered saline could be completely inhibited by dynasore, a specific inhibitor of dynamin, a dynasore-insensitive entry pathway became functional in the presence of fetal calf serum. This finding was confirmed with the use of small interfering RNAs targeting dynamin-2. In the presence of serum, both IAV entry pathways were operational. Under these conditions entry could be fully blocked by combined treatment with dynasore and the amiloride derivative EIPA, the hallmark inhibitor of macropinocytosis, whereas either drug alone had no effect. The sensitivity of the dynamin-independent entry pathway to inhibitors or dominant-negative mutants affecting actomyosin dynamics as well as to a number of specific inhibitors of growth factor receptor tyrosine kinases and downstream effectors thereof all point to the involvement of macropinocytosis in IAV entry. Consistently, IAV particles and soluble FITC-dextran were shown to co-localize in cells in the same vesicles. Thus, in addition to the classical dynamin-dependent, clathrin-mediated endocytosis pathway, IAV enters host cells by a dynamin-independent route that has all the characteristics of macropinocytosis.
Attachment to and entry into a host cell are the first crucial steps in establishing a successful virus infection and critical factors in determining host cell and species tropism. Influenza A virus (IAV) attaches to host cells by binding of its major surface protein, hemagglutinin, to sialic acids that are omnipresent on the glycolipids and glycoproteins exposed on the surfaces of cells. IAV subsequently enters cells of birds and a wide variety of mammals via receptor-mediated endocytosis using clathrin as well as via (an) alternative uncharacterized route(s). The elucidation of the endocytic pathways taken by IAV has been hampered by their apparent redundancy in establishing a productive infection. By manipulating the entry conditions we have established experimental settings that allow the separate analysis of dynamin-dependent (including clathrin-mediated endocytosis) and independent entry of IAV. Collectively, our results indicate macropinocytosis, the main route for the non-selective uptake of extracellular fluid by cells, as an alternative IAV entry route. As the dynamin-dependent and -independent IAV entry routes are redundant and independent, their separate manipulation was crucial for the identification and characterization of the alternative IAV entry route. A similar strategy might be applicable to the study of endocytic pathways taken by other viruses.
Trypanosoma cruzi is an intracellular parasite that, like some other intracellular pathogens, targets specific proteins of the host cell vesicular transport machinery, leading to a modulation of host cell processes that results in the generation of unique phagosomes. In mammalian cells, several molecules have been identified that selectively regulate the formation of endocytic transport vesicles and the fusion of such vesicles with appropriate acceptor membranes. Among these, the GTPase dynamin plays an important role in clathrin-mediated endocytosis, and it was recently found that dynamin can participate in a phagocytic process.
We used a compound called dynasore that has the ability to block the GTPase activity of dynamin. Dynasore acts as a potent inhibitor of endocytic pathways by blocking coated vesicle formation within seconds of its addition. Here, we investigated whether dynamin is involved in the entry process of T. cruzi in phagocytic and non-phagocytic cells by using dynasore. In this aim, peritoneal macrophages and LLC-MK2 cells were treated with increasing concentrations of dynasore before interaction with trypomastigotes, amastigotes or epimastigotes. We observed that, in both cell lines, the parasite internalization was drastically diminished (by greater than 90% in LLC-MK2 cells and 70% in peritoneal macrophages) when we used 100 µM dynasore. The T. cruzi adhesion index, however, was unaffected in either cell line. Analyzing these interactions by scanning electron microscopy and comparing peritoneal macrophages to LLC-MK2 cells revealed differences in the stage at which cell entry was blocked. In LLC-MK2 cells, this blockade is observed earlier than it is in peritoneal macrophages. In LLC-MK2 cells, the parasites were only associated with cellular microvilli, whereas in peritoneal macrophages, trypomastigotes were not completely engulfed by a host cell plasma membrane.
Taken together our results demonstrate that dynamin is an essential molecule necessary for cell invasion and specifically parasitophorous vacuole formation by host cells during interaction with Trypanosoma cruzi.
The human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) envelope glycoproteins (Envs) function as a trimer, mediating virus entry by promoting the fusion of the viral and target cell membranes. HIV-1 Env trimers induce membrane fusion through a pH-independent pathway driven by the interaction between an Env trimer and its cellular receptors, CD4 and CCR5/CXCR4. We studied viruses with mixed heterotrimers of wild-type and dominant-negative Envs to determine the number (T) of Env trimers required for HIV-1 entry. To our surprise, we found that a single Env trimer is capable of supporting HIV-1 entry; i.e., T = 1. A similar approach was applied to investigate the entry stoichiometry of envelope glycoproteins from amphotropic murine leukemia virus (A-MLV), avian sarcoma/leukosis virus type A (ASLV-A), and influenza A virus. When pseudotyped on HIV-1 virions, the A-MLV and ASLV-A Envs also exhibit a T = 1 entry stoichiometry. In contrast, eight to nine influenza A virus hemagglutinin trimers function cooperatively to achieve membrane fusion and virus entry, using a pH-dependent pathway. The different entry requirements for cooperativity among Env trimers for retroviruses and influenza A virus may influence viral strategies for replication and evasion of the immune system.
Direct cell-to-cell transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a more potent and efficient means of virus propagation than infection by cell-free virus particles. The aim of this study was to determine whether cell-to-cell transmission requires the assembly of enveloped virus particles or whether nucleic acids with replication potential could translocate directly from donor to target cells through envelope glycoprotein (Env)-induced fusion pores. To this end, we characterized the transmission properties of viruses carrying mutations in the matrix protein (MA) that affect the incorporation of Env into virus particles but do not interfere with Env-mediated cell-cell fusion. By use of cell-free virus, the infectivity of MA mutant viruses was below the detection threshold both in single-cycle and in multiple-cycle assays. Truncation of the cytoplasmic tail (CT) of Env restored the incorporation of Env into MA mutant viruses and rescued their cell-free infectivity to different extents. In cell-to-cell transmission assays, MA mutations prevented HIV transmission from donor to target cells, despite efficient Env-dependent membrane fusion. HIV transmission was blocked at the level of virus core translocation into the cytosol of target cells. As in cell-free assays, rescue of Env incorporation by truncation of the Env CT restored the virus core translocation and cell-to-cell infectivity of MA mutant viruses. These data show that HIV cell-to-cell transmission requires the assembly of enveloped virus particles. The increased efficiency of this infection route may thus be attributed to the high local concentrations of virus particles at sites of cellular contacts rather than to a qualitatively different transmission process.
Lentiviruses, including human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), typically encode envelope glycoproteins (Env) with long cytoplasmic tails (CTs). The strong conservation of CT length in primary isolates of HIV-1 suggests that this factor plays a key role in viral replication and persistence in infected patients. However, we report here the emergence and dominance of a primary HIV-1 variant carrying a natural 20-amino-acid truncation of the CT in vivo. We demonstrated that this truncation was deleterious for viral replication in cell culture. We then identified a compensatory amino acid substitution in the matrix protein that reversed the negative effects of CT truncation. The loss or rescue of infectivity depended on the level of Env incorporation into virus particles. Interestingly, we found that a virus mutant with defective Env incorporation was able to spread by cell-to-cell transfer. The effects on viral infectivity of compensation between the CT and the matrix protein have been suggested by in vitro studies based on T-cell laboratory-adapted virus mutants, but we provide here the first demonstration of the natural occurrence of similar mechanisms in an infected patient. Our findings provide insight into the potential of HIV-1 to evolve in vivo and its ability to overcome major structural alterations.
HIV envelope glycoprotein (Env)-mediated fusion is driven by the concerted coalescence of the HIV gp41 N-helical and C-helical regions, which results in the formation of 6 helix bundles. Kinetics of HIV Env-mediated fusion is an important determinant of sensitivity to entry inhibitors and antibodies. However, the parameters that govern the HIV Env fusion cascade have yet to be fully elucidated. We address this issue by comparing the kinetics HIV-1IIIB Env with those mediated by HIV-2 from two strains with different affinities for CD4 and CXCR4.
HIV-1 and HIV-2 Env-mediated cell fusion occurred with half times of about 60 and 30 min, respectively. Binding experiments of soluble HIV gp120 proteins to CD4 and co-receptor did not correlate with the differences in kinetics of fusion mediated by the three different HIV Envs. However, escape from inhibition by reagents that block gp120-CD4 binding, CD4-induced CXCR4 binding and 6-helix bundle formation, respectively, indicated large difference between HIV-1 and HIV-2 envelope glycoproteins in their CD4-induced rates of engagement with CXCR4.
The HIV-2 Env proteins studied here exhibited a significantly reduced window of time between the engagement of gp120 with CD4 and exposure of the CXCR4 binding site on gp120 as compared with HIV-1IIIB Env. The efficiency with which HIV-2 Env undergoes this CD4-induced conformational change is the major cause of the relatively rapid rate of HIV-2 Env mediated-fusion.
The Env glycoproteins of retroviruses play an important role in the initial steps of infection involving the binding to cell surface receptors and entry by membrane fusion. The Env glycoprotein also plays an important role in viral assembly at a late step of infection. Although the Env glycoprotein interacts with viral matrix proteins and cellular proteins associated with lipid rafts, its possible role during the early replication events remains unclear. Truncation of the cytoplasmic tail (CT) of the Env glycoprotein is acquired by SIV in the course of adaptation to human cells, and is known to be a determinant of SIV pathogenicity.
We compared SIV viruses with full length or truncated (T) Env glycoproteins to analyze possible differences in entry and post-entry events, and assembly of virions. We observed that early steps in replication of SIV with full length or T Env were similar in dividing and non-dividing cells. However, the proviral DNA of the pathogenic virus clone SIVmac239 with full length Env was imported to the nucleus about 20-fold more efficiently than proviral DNA of SIVmac239T with T Env, and 100-fold more efficiently than an SIVmac18T variant with a single mutation A239T in the SU subunit and with a truncated cytoplasmic tail (CT). In contrast, proviral DNA of SIVmac18 with a full length CT and with a single mutation A239T in the SU subunit was imported to the nucleus about 50-fold more efficiently than SIVmac18T. SIV particles with full length Env were released from rhesus monkey PBMC, whereas a restriction of release of virus particles was observed from human 293T, CEMx174, HUT78 or macrophages. In contrast, SIV with T Envs were able to overcome the inhibition of release in human HUT78, CEMx174, 293T or growth-arrested CEMx174 cells and macrophages resulting in production of infectious particles. We found that the long CT of the Env glycoprotein was required for association of Env with lipid rafts. An Env mutant C787S which eliminated palmitoylation did not abolish Env incorporation into lipid rafts, but prevented virus assembly.
The results indicate that the long cytoplasmic tail of the SIV Env glycoprotein may govern post-entry replication events and plays a role in the assembly process.
We and others have presented evidence for a direct interaction between the matrix (MA) domain of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) Gag protein and the cytoplasmic tail of the transmembrane envelope (Env) glycoprotein gp41. In addition, it has been postulated that the MA domain of Gag undergoes a conformational change following Gag processing, and the cytoplasmic tail of gp41 has been shown to modulate Env-mediated membrane fusion activity. Together, these results raise the possibility that the interaction between the gp41 cytoplasmic tail and MA is regulated by protease (PR)-mediated Gag processing, perhaps affecting Env function. To examine whether Gag processing affects Env-mediated fusion, we compared the ability of wild-type (WT) HIV-1 Env and a mutant lacking the gp41 cytoplasmic tail to induce fusion in the context of an active (PR+) or inactive (PR−) viral PR. We observed that PR− virions bearing WT Env displayed defects in cell-cell fusion. Impaired fusion did not appear to be due to differences in the levels of virion-associated Env, in CD4-dependent binding to target cells, or in the formation of the CD4-induced gp41 six-helix bundle. Interestingly, truncation of the gp41 cytoplasmic tail reversed the fusion defect. These results suggest that interactions between unprocessed Gag and the gp41 cytoplasmic tail suppress fusion.
Truncation of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) gp41 cytoplasmic tail (CT) can modulate the fusogenicity of the envelope glycoprotein (Env) on infected cells and virions. However, the CT domains involved and the underlying mechanism responsible for this “inside-out” regulation of Env function are unknown. HIV and SIV CTs are remarkably long and contain amphipathic alpha-helical domains (LLP1, LLP2, and LLP3) that likely interact with cellular membranes. Using a cell-cell fusion assay and a panel of HIV Envs with stop codons at various positions in the CT, we show that truncations of gp41 proximal to the most N-terminal alpha helix, LLP2, increase fusion efficiency and expose CD4-induced epitopes in the Env ectodomain. These effects were not seen with a truncation distal to this domain and before LLP1. Using a dye transfer assay to quantitate fusion kinetics, we found that these truncations produced a two- to fourfold increase in the rate of fusion. These results were observed for X4-, R5-, and dual-tropic Envs on CXCR4- and CCR5-expressing target cells and could not be explained by differences in Env surface expression. These findings suggest that distal to the membrane-spanning domain, an interaction of the gp41 LLP2 domain with the cell membrane restricts Env fusogenicity during Env processing. As with murine leukemia viruses, where cleavage of a membrane-interactive R peptide at the C terminus is required for Env to become fusogenic, this restriction of Env function may serve to protect virus-producing cells from the membrane-disruptive effects of the Env ectodomain.
The membrane-spanning domain (MSD) of the envelope (Env) glycoprotein from human (HIV) and simian immunodeficiency viruses plays a key role in anchoring the Env complex into the viral membrane but also contributes to its biological function in fusion and virus entry. In HIV type 1 (HIV-1), it has been predicted to span 27 amino acids, from lysine residue 681 to arginine 707, and encompasses an internal arginine at residue 694. By examining a series of C-terminal-truncation mutants of the HIV-1 gp41 glycoprotein that substituted termination codons for amino acids 682 to 708, we show that this entire region is required for efficient viral infection of target cells. Truncation to the arginine at residue 694 resulted in an Env complex that was secreted from the cells. In contrast, a region from residues 681 to 698, which contains highly conserved hydrophobic residues and glycine motifs and extends 4 amino acids beyond 694R, can effectively anchor the protein in the membrane, allow efficient transport to the plasma membrane, and mediate wild-type levels of cell-cell fusion. However, these fusogenic truncated Env mutants are inefficiently incorporated into budding virions. Based on the analysis of these mutants, a “snorkeling” model, in which the flanking charged amino acid residues at 681 and 694 are buried in the lipid while their side chains interact with polar head groups, is proposed for the HIV-1 MSD.
Mechanisms of HIV-mediated CD4+ T cell loss leading to immunodeficiency are amongst the most extensively studied yet unanswered questions in HIV biology. The level of CD4+ T cell depletion in HIV infected patients far exceeds the number of infected T cells suggesting an indirect mechanism of HIV pathogenesis termed bystander cell death. Evidence is accumulating that the HIV envelope glycoprotein (Env) is a major determinant of HIV pathogenesis and plays a critical role in bystander cell death. The complex structure and function of HIV Env makes the determination of the mechanism of Env mediated apoptosis more complex than previously thought. This review will examine the complex relationship between HIV Env phenotype, coreceptor expression and immune activation in determining HIV pathogenesis. We review data here corresponding to the role of HIV Env (hemi)fusion activity in HIV pathogenesis and how it interplays with other AIDS associated factors like chemokine receptor expression and immune activation.
HIV-1; Env; pathogenesis; fusion; hemifusion; apoptosis
HIV-1 entry into cells is a multifaceted process involving target cell CD4 and the chemokine receptors, CXCR4 or CCR5. The lipid composition of the host cell plays a significant role in the HIV fusion process as it orchestrates the appropriate disposition of CD4 and co-receptors required for HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein (Env)-mediated fusion. The cell membrane is primarily composed of sphingolipids and cholesterol. The effects of lipid modulation on CD4 disposition in the membrane and their role in HIV-1 entry have extensively been studied. To focus on the role of lipid composition on chemokine receptor function, we have by-passed the CD4 requirement for HIV-1 Env-mediated fusion by using a CD4-independent strain of HIV-1 Env.
Cell fusion mediated by a CD4-independent strain of HIV-1 Env was monitored by observing dye transfer between Env-expressing cells and NIH3T3 cells bearing CXCR4 or CCR5 in the presence or absence of CD4. Chemokine receptor signaling was assessed by monitoring changes in intracellular [Ca2+] mobilization induced by CCR5 or CXCR4 ligand. To modulate target membrane cholesterol or sphingolipids we used Methyl-β-cyclodextrin (MβCD) or 1-phenyl-2-hexadecanoylamino-3-morpholino-1-propanol (PPMP), respectively. Treatment of the target cells with these agents did not change the levels of CD4 or CXCR4, but reduced levels of CCR5 on the cell surface. Chemokine receptor signalling was inhibited by cholesterol removal but not by treatment with PPMP. HIV-1 Env mediated fusion was inhibited by >50% by cholesterol removal. Overall, PPMP treatment appeared to slow down the rates of CD4-independent HIV-1 Env-mediated Fusion. However, in the case of CXCR4-dependent fusion, the differences between untreated and PPMP-treated cells did not appear to be significant.
Although modulation of cholesterol and sphingolipids has similar effects on CD4 -dependent HIV-1 Env-mediated fusion, sphingolipid modulation had little effect on CD4-independent HIV-1 Env-mediated fusion. Chemokine receptor function remained intact following treatment of cells with PPMP. Therefore such treatment may be considered a more suitable agent to inhibit CD4 dependent HIV-1 infection.
The cytoplasmic tail domain (CTD) of retroviral envelope (Env) proteins has been implicated in modulating Env incorporation into viral particles. We generated a panel of murine leukemia virus (MLV) Env mutants and analyzed their ability to be recruited to human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) assembly sites. Surprisingly, the entire CTD was dispensable for recruitment to assembly sites, but a mutation that disrupted the furin cleavage site in Env abolished recruitment. To determine if MLV Env can show selectivity for homologous assembly sites, cells were co-transfected with both HIV-1 and MLV assembly components along with each MLV Env construct and assayed for infectious particle production. MLV Env selectively formed infectious particles with the MLV components at the expense of infectious HIV-1 infectious particle production, but truncation of the CTD progressively reduced this selectivity. Collectively these data suggest that there are two separable mechanisms that govern MLV Env recruitment to viral assembly sites.
Pseudotype; Assembly; RD114; Env; MLV; HIV-1; Recruitment; Retrovirus; cytoplasmic domain
The initial entry of papillomaviruses into their target cells has been shown to occur by clathrin-mediated endocytosis and caveolae-mediated endocytosis. These mechanisms entail the formation of nascent-coated vesicles at the plasma membrane. Such coated vesicles, clathrin or caveolin, form and pinch-off in a controlled mechanism that involves several proteins including dynamin. Dynamin is a GTPase that forms a dynamin ring at the stem connecting the nascent vesicle to the plasma membrane. In a still not fully characterized mechanism, dynamin’s contraction and twisting results in the scission of the vesicle. In an effort to better characterize the role and molecular mechanisms of dynamin’s function, researchers have identified dynasore, a dynamin GTPase inhibitor that prevents the scission of dynamin-dependent endocytic vesicles. Here, we have tested if infection by pseudovirus corresponding to the oncogenic human papillomavirus type 16 and bovine papillomavirus type 1 can be blocked by dynasore. We present data demonstrating that dynasore can block infection of human papillomavirus type 16 and bovine papillomavirus type 1 pseudovirions in a dose- and time-dependent manner with equal efficiency. Presently, there is no available therapy that can block infection by a wide range of papillomavirus regardless of species or genotypes. Targeting dynamin may lead to the rational design of drug able to prevent infection by papillomaviruses, and by other infectious agents dependent on this protein for initial internalization into target cells. Whether such an approach will prove successful needs further investigation.
dynasore; papillomavirus endocytosis; dynamin inhibitor; viral infection; papillomavirus antiviral; dynamin-mediated endocytosis
Matrix proteins (M) direct the process of assembly and budding of viruses belonging to the Mononegavirales order. Using the two-hybrid system, the amino-terminal part of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) M was shown to interact with dynamin pleckstrin homology domain. This interaction was confirmed by coimmunoprecipitation of both proteins in cells transfected by a plasmid encoding a c-myc-tagged dynamin and infected by VSV. A role for dynamin in the viral cycle (in addition to its role in virion endocytosis) was suggested by the fact that a late stage of the viral cycle was sensitive to dynasore. By alanine scanning, we identified a single mutation of M protein that abolished this interaction and reduced virus yield. The adaptation of mutant virus (M.L4A) occurred rapidly, allowing the isolation of revertants, among which the M protein, despite having an amino acid sequence distinct from that of the wild type, recovered a significant level of interaction with dynamin. This proved that the mutant phenotype was due to the loss of interaction between M and dynamin. The infectious cycle of the mutant virus M.L4A was blocked at a late stage, resulting in a quasi-absence of bullet-shaped viruses in the process of budding at the cell membrane. This was associated with an accumulation of nucleocapsids at the periphery of the cell and a different pattern of VSV glycoprotein localization. Finally, we showed that M-dynamin interaction affects clathrin-dependent endocytosis. Our study suggests that hijacking the endocytic pathway might be an important feature for enveloped virus assembly and budding at the plasma membrane.
Enfuvirtide (ENF) prevents the entry of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) into cells by binding to the HR-1 region of the viral envelope (Env) protein gp41 subunit. Resistance to ENF arises via mutations in the drug binding site in HR-1. In addition, HR-2 mutations are commonly observed in ENF-resistant Env proteins, though their role remains unclear. We explored the mechanistic basis for clinical resistance to ENF and the role of HR-2 mutations. Using panels of ENF resistance-associated mutants for two patients, we found that mutations in HR-1 slowed the fusion kinetics and that mutations in HR-2 restored fusion rates. We assessed the differences in the rates of fusion of these mutants from a temperature-arrested state and observed similar trends, suggesting that the step of delay occurs after coreceptor engagement. Sensitivity to neutralizing antibodies was unchanged by the HR-1 and HR-2 mutants in each panel. Since this result was in contrast to those of a previous in vitro analysis where enhanced sensitivity to neutralization was demonstrated for heterologous Envs with ENF resistance-associated HR-1 changes, we examined the context dependence of HR-1 and HR-2 mutations by transferring the mutations seen in one patient into the Env context of another. These studies revealed that some, but not all, HR-1 mutations, when placed out of context (i.e., in a patient Env where they did not originally arise), enhance sensitivity to neutralizing antibodies. However, in most cases, HR-1 mutations in ENF-treated patients evolve in a manner that preserves pretreatment neutralization sensitivity so as to evade the pressures of the immune system.
The chemokine receptor CCR5 is the major fusion coreceptor for macrophage-tropic strains of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). To define the structures of CCR5 that can support envelope (Env)-mediated membrane fusion, we analyzed the activity of homologs, chimeras, and mutants of human CCR5 in a sensitive gene reporter cell-cell fusion assay. Simian, but not murine, homologs of CCR5 were fully active as HIV-1 fusion coreceptors. Chimeras between CCR5 and divergent chemokine receptors demonstrated the existence of two distinct regions of CCR5 that could be utilized for Env-mediated fusion, the amino-terminal domain and the extracellular loops. Dual-tropic Env proteins were particularly sensitive to alterations in the CCR5 amino-terminal domain, suggesting that this domain may play a pivotal role in the evolution of coreceptor usage in vivo. We identified individual residues in both functional regions, Asp-11, Lys-197, and Asp-276, that contribute to coreceptor function. Deletion of a highly conserved cytoplasmic motif rendered CCR5 incapable of signaling but did not abrogate its ability to function as a coreceptor, implying the independence of fusion and G-protein-mediated chemokine receptor signaling. Finally, we developed a novel monoclonal antibody to CCR5 to assist in future studies of CCR5 expression.
Xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus (XMRV) is a gammaretrovirus that was originally identified from human prostate cancer patients and subsequently linked to chronic fatigue syndrome. Recent studies showed that XMRV is a recombinant mouse retrovirus; hence, its association with human diseases has become questionable. Here, we demonstrated that XMRV envelope (Env)-mediated pseudoviral infection is not blocked by lysosomotropic agents and cellular protease inhibitors, suggesting that XMRV entry is not pH-dependent. The full length XMRV Env was unable to induce syncytia formation and cell-cell fusion, even in cells overexpressing the viral receptor, XPR1. However, truncation of the C-terminal 21 or 33 amino acid residues in the cytoplasmic tail (CT) of XMRV Env induced substantial membrane fusion, not only in the permissive 293 cells but also in the nonpermissive CHO cells that lack a functional XPR1 receptor. The increased fusion activities of these truncations correlated with their enhanced SU shedding into culture media, suggesting conformational changes in the ectodomain of XMRV Env. Noticeably, further truncation of the CT of XMRV Env proximal to the membrane-spanning domain severely impaired the Env fusogenicity, as well as dramatically decreased the Env incorporations into MoMLV oncoretroviral and HIV-1 lentiviral vectors resulting in greatly reduced viral transductions. Collectively, our studies reveal that XMRV entry does not require a low pH or low pH-dependent host proteases, and that the cytoplasmic tail of XMRV Env critically modulates membrane fusion and cell entry. Our data also imply that additional cellular factors besides XPR1 are likely to be involved in XMRV entry.
Murine CD4+ cells are resistant to human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) entry and to fusion with cells expressing HIV-1 envelope glycoproteins (Env). The role of human-specific factors in Env/CD4-mediated fusion is shown by the ability of transient cell hybrids formed between CD4+ murine cells and human HeLa cells to fuse with Env+ cells. Fusion events were observed when other human cells, including erythrocytes, were substituted for HeLa cells in the hybrids. Experiments with erythrocyte ghosts showed that the factors allowing Env/CD4-mediated fusion are located in the plasma membrane. These factors were fully active after extensive digestion of erythrocytes with proteinase K or pronase. Nonprotein components of human plasma membranes, possibly glycolipids, could therefore be required for Env/CD4-mediated fusion and virus entry.
The HIV-1 envelope (Env) glycoproteins play an essential role in the virus replication cycle by mediating the fusion between viral and cellular membranes during the entry process. The Env glycoproteins are synthesized as a polyprotein precursor, gp160, that is cleaved by cellular proteases to the mature surface glycoprotein gp120 and the transmembrane glycoprotein gp41. During virus assembly the gp120/gp41 complex is incorporated as heterotrimeric spikes into the lipid bilayer of nascent virions. These gp120/gp41 complexes then initiate the infection process by binding receptor and co-receptor on the surface of target cells. Much is currently known about the HIV-1 Env glycoprotein trafficking pathway and the structure of gp120 and the extracellular domain of gp41. However, the mechanism by which the Env glycoprotein complex is incorporated into virus particles remains incompletely understood. Genetic data support a major role for the cytoplasmic tail of gp41 and the matrix domain of Gag in Env glycoprotein incorporation. Still to be defined are the identities of host cell factors that may promote Env incorporation, and the role of specific membrane microdomains in this process. Here we review our current understanding of HIV-1 Env glycoprotein trafficking and incorporation into virions.
The interferon-inducible transmembrane protein BST-2 (CD317, tetherin) restricts the release of several enveloped viruses from infected cells. BST-2 is broadly active against retroviruses, including HIV-1 and HIV-2. To counteract this host defense, HIV-1 uses the accessory protein Vpu, whereas HIV-2 uses its envelope glycoprotein (Env). In both cases, viral antagonism is associated with decreased expression of BST-2 at the cell surface. Here, we provide evidence supporting a role for the clathrin-mediated endocytic pathway in the downregulation of BST-2 from the cell surface and the counteraction of restricted virion release. A catalytically inactive, dominant negative version of the vesicle “pinch-ase” dynamin 2 (dyn2K44A) inhibited the downregulation of BST-2 by Vpu, and it inhibited the release of wild-type (Vpu-expressing) HIV-1 virions. Similarly, dyn2K44A inhibited the downregulation of BST-2 by HIV-2 Env, and it inhibited the release of vpu-negative HIV-1 virions when HIV-2 Env was provided in trans. dyn2K44A inhibited Env more robustly than Vpu, suggesting that dynamin 2, while a cofactor for both Env and Vpu, might support just one of several pathways though which Vpu counteracts BST-2. In support of a role for clathrin in these effects, the C-terminal domain of the clathrin assembly protein AP180 also inhibited the downregulation of BST-2 by either Vpu or HIV-2 Env. Consistent with modulation of the postendocytic itinerary of BST-2, Vpu enhanced the accumulation of cell surface-derived BST-2 in transferrin-containing endosomes. Vpu also inhibited the transport of BST-2 from a brefeldin A-insensitive compartment to the cell surface, consistent with a block to endosomal recycling. We propose that HIV-1 Vpu, and probably HIV-2 Env, traps BST-2 in an endosomal compartment following endocytosis, reducing its level at the cell surface to counteract restricted viral release.
Palmitoylation of the cytoplasmic domain of the human immunodeficiency type virus type 1 (HIV-1) envelope (Env) transmembrane protein, gp41, has been implicated in Env targeting to detergent-resistant lipid rafts, Env incorporation into the virus, and viral infectivity. In contrast, we provide evidence here to show that HIV-1 infectivity, Env targeting to lipid rafts, and Env incorporation into the virus are independent of cytoplasmic tail palmitoylation. The T-cell (T)-tropic HXB2-based virus, which utilizes CXCR4 as the entry coreceptor, carrying a Cys-to-Ser mutation at residue 764 or 837 or at both replicated with wild-type (WT) virus replication kinetics in CD4+ T cells. The properties of Env expression, precursor processing, cell surface expression, and Env incorporation of these three mutant viruses were normal compared to those of the WT virus. These three mutant Env proteins all effectively mediated one-cycle virus infection. When the Cys residues were replaced by Ala residues, all single and double mutants still retained the phenotypes of infectivity, Env incorporation, and lipid raft localization of the WT Env. When Cys-to-Ala substitutions were introduced into the macrophage (M)-tropic ConB virus, which utilizes CCR5 as the coreceptor, these mutations did not affect the replication potential, Env phenotypes, lipid raft targeting, or Env assembly into the virus of the WT Env. These T- and M-tropic mutants also productively replicated in human primary CD4+ T cells. Moreover, mutations at both Cys residues significantly reduced the level of palmitoylation of the Env. Our results together support the notion that palmitoylation of the cytoplasmic tail of the HIV-1 Env is not essential for the HIV-1 virus life cycle.
The matrix (MA) protein of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) forms the outer protein shell directly underneath the lipid envelope of the virion. The MA protein has a key role in different aspects of virus assembly, including the incorporation of the HIV-1 Env protein complex, which contains a transmembrane glycoprotein with an unusually long cytoplasmic tail. In this study, we compared the abilities of HIV-1 MA mutants to incorporate Env protein complexes with long and short cytoplasmic tails. While the mutant particles failed to incorporate the authentic HIV-1 Env protein complex, they retained the ability to efficiently and functionally incorporate the amphotropic murine leukemia virus Env protein complex, which has a short cytoplasmic tail. Moreover, incorporation of the autologous Env protein complex could be restored by a second-site mutation that resulted in the truncation of the cytoplasmic tail of the HIV-1 transmembrane glycoprotein. Remarkably, the second-site mutation also restored the ability of MA mutants to replicate in MT-4 cells. These results imply that the long cytoplasmic tail of the transmembrane glycoprotein is responsible for the exclusion of the HIV-1 Env protein complex from MA mutant particles.
The membrane-spanning domain (MSD) of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type I (HIV-1) envelope glycoprotein (Env) is critical for its biological activity. Initial studies have defined an almost invariant “core” structure in the MSD and demonstrated that it is crucial for anchoring Env in the membrane and virus entry. We show here that amino acid substitutions in the MSD “core” do not influence specific virus-cell attachment, nor CD4 receptor and CXCR4 coreceptor recognition by Env. However, substitutions within the MSD “core” delayed the kinetics and reduced the efficiency of cell-cell fusion mediated by Env. Although we observed no evidence that membrane fusion mediated by the MSD core mutants was arrested at a hemifusion stage, impaired Env fusogenicity was correlated with minor conformational changes in the V2, C1, and C5 regions in gp120 and the immunodominant loop in gp41. These changes could delay initiation of the conformational changes required in the fusion process.
HIV-1; Env; gp120; gp41; membrane-spanning domain; GxxxG; conformational changes; membrane fusion; hemifusion
CXCR4 is a chemokine receptor and a coreceptor for T-cell-line-tropic (X4) and dual-tropic (R5X4) human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) isolates. Cells coexpressing CXCR4 and CD4 will fuse with appropriate HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein (Env)-expressing cells. The delineation of the critical regions involved in the interactions within the Env-CD4-coreceptor complex are presently under intensive investigation, and the use of chimeras of coreceptor molecules has provided valuable information. To define these regions in greater detail, we have employed a strategy involving alanine-scanning mutagenesis of the extracellular domains of CXCR4 coupled with a highly sensitive reporter gene assay for HIV-1 Env-mediated membrane fusion. Using a panel of 41 different CXCR4 mutants, we have identified several charged residues that appear important for coreceptor activity for X4 Envs; the mutations E15A (in which the glutamic acid residue at position 15 is replaced by alanine) and E32A in the N terminus, D97A in extracellular loop 1 (ecl-1), and R188A in ecl-2 impaired coreceptor activity for X4 and R5X4 Envs. In addition, substitution of alanine for any of the four extracellular cysteines alone resulted in conformational changes of various degrees, while mutants with paired cysteine deletions partially retained their structure. Our data support the notion that all four cysteines are involved in disulfide bond formation. We have also identified substitutions which greatly enhance or convert CXCR4’s coreceptor activity to support R5 Env-mediated fusion (N11A, R30A, D187A, and D193A), and together our data suggest the presence of conserved extracellular elements, common to both CXCR4 and CCR5, involved in their coreceptor activities. These data will help us to better detail the CXCR4 structural requirements exhibited by different HIV-1 strains and will direct further mutagenesis efforts aimed at better defining the domains in CXCR4 involved in the HIV-1 Env-mediated fusion process.