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1.  A reporter system for replication-competent gammaretroviruses: the inGluc-MLV-DERSE assay 
Gene therapy  2012;20(2):169-176.
While novel retroviral vectors for use in gene-therapy products are reducing the potential for formation of replication-competent retrovirus (RCR), it remains crucial to screen products for RCR for both research and clinical purposes. For clinical grade gammaretrovirus-based vectors, RCR screening is achieved by an extended S+L− or marker rescue assay, while standard methods for replication-competent lentivirus detection are still in development. In this report, we describe a rapid and sensitive method for replication-competent gammaretrovirus detection. We used this assay to detect three members of the gammaretrovirus family and compared the sensitivity of our assay with well-established methods for retrovirus detection, including the extended S+L− assay. Results presented here demonstrate that this assay should be useful for gene-therapy product testing.
PMCID: PMC3374051  PMID: 22402321
replication-competent gammaretrovirus; gene therapy vectors; infectivity assay
2.  Cell-to-Cell Transmission Can Overcome Multiple Donor and Target Cell Barriers Imposed on Cell-Free HIV 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e53138.
Virus transmission can occur either by a cell-free mode through the extracellular space or by cell-to-cell transmission involving direct cell-to-cell contact. The factors that determine whether a virus spreads by either pathway are poorly understood. Here, we assessed the relative contribution of cell-free and cell-to-cell transmission to the spreading of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). We demonstrate that HIV can spread by a cell-free pathway if all the steps of the viral replication cycle are efficiently supported in highly permissive cells. However, when the cell-free path was systematically hindered at various steps, HIV transmission became contact-dependent. Cell-to-cell transmission overcame barriers introduced in the donor cell at the level of gene expression and surface retention by the restriction factor tetherin. Moreover, neutralizing antibodies that efficiently inhibit cell-free HIV were less effective against cell-to-cell transmitted virus. HIV cell-to-cell transmission also efficiently infected target T cells that were relatively poorly susceptible to cell-free HIV. Importantly, we demonstrate that the donor and target cell types influence critically the extent by which cell-to-cell transmission can overcome each barrier. Mechanistically, cell-to-cell transmission promoted HIV spread to more cells and infected target cells with a higher proviral content than observed for cell-free virus. Our data demonstrate that the frequently observed contact-dependent spread of HIV is the result of specific features in donor and target cell types, thus offering an explanation for conflicting reports on the extent of cell-to-cell transmission of HIV.
PMCID: PMC3538641  PMID: 23308151
3.  The Role of Amino-Terminal Sequences in Cellular Localization and Antiviral Activity of APOBEC3B▿ 
Journal of Virology  2011;85(17):8538-8547.
Human APOBEC3B (A3B) has been described as a potent inhibitor of retroviral infection and retrotransposition. However, we found that the predominantly nuclear A3B only weakly restricted infection by HIV-1, HIV-1Δvif, and human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1), while significantly inhibiting LINE-1 retrotransposition. The chimeric construct A3G/B, in which the first 60 amino acids of A3B were replaced with those of A3G, restricted HIV-1, HIV-1Δvif, and HTLV-1 infection, as well as LINE-1 retrotransposition. In contrast to the exclusively cytoplasmic A3G, which is inactive against LINE-1 retrotransposition, the A3G/B protein, while localized mainly to the cytoplasm, was also present in the nucleus. Further mutational analysis revealed that residues 18, 19, 22, and 24 in A3B were the major determinants for nuclear versus cytoplasmic localization and antiretroviral activity. HIV-1Δvif packages A3G, A3B, and A3G/B into particles with close-to-equal efficiencies. Mutation E68Q or E255Q in the active centers of A3G/B resulted in loss of the inhibitory activity against HIV-1Δvif, while not affecting activity against LINE-1 retrotransposition. The low inhibition of HIV-1Δvif by A3B correlated with a low rate of G-to-A hypermutation. In contrast, viruses that had been exposed to A3G/B showed a high number of G-to-A transitions. The mutation pattern was similar to that previously reported for A3B, with a preference for the GA context. In summary, these observations suggest that changing 4 residues in the amino terminus of A3B not only retargets the protein from the nucleus to the cytoplasm but also enhances its ability to restrict HIV while retaining inhibition of retrotransposition.
PMCID: PMC3165795  PMID: 21715505
4.  Association of Src-Related Kinase Lyn with the Interleukin-2 Receptor and Its Role in Maintaining Constitutive Phosphorylation of JAK/STAT in Human T-Cell Leukemia Virus Type 1-Transformed T Cells▿ 
Journal of Virology  2011;85(9):4623-4627.
Human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) infection and transformation are associated with an incremental switch in the expression of the Src-related protein tyrosine kinases Lck and Lyn. We examined the physical and functional interactions of Lyn with receptors and signal transduction proteins in HTLV-1-infected T cells. Lyn coimmunoprecipitates with the interleukin-2 beta receptor (IL-2Rβ) and JAK3 proteins; however, the association of Lyn with the IL-2Rβ and Lyn kinase activity was independent of IL-2 stimulation. Phosphorylation of Janus kinase 3 (JAK3) and signal transducers and activator of transcription 5 (STAT5) proteins was reduced by treatment of cells with the Src kinase inhibitor PP2 or by ectopic expression of a dominant negative Lyn kinase protein.
PMCID: PMC3126234  PMID: 21345943
5.  Gag Localization and Virus-Like Particle Release Mediated by the Matrix Domain of Human T-Lymphotropic Virus Type 1 Gag Are Less Dependent on Phosphatidylinositol-(4,5)-Bisphosphate than Those Mediated by the Matrix Domain of HIV-1 Gag ▿  
Journal of Virology  2011;85(8):3802-3810.
The human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) Gag matrix (MA) domain facilitates Gag targeting and binding to the plasma membrane (PM) during virus assembly. Interaction with a PM phospholipid, phosphatidylinositol-(4,5)-bisphosphate [PI(4,5)P2], plays a key role in these MA functions. Previous studies showed that overexpression of polyphosphoinositide 5-phosphatase IV (5ptaseIV), which depletes cellular PI(4,5)P2, mislocalizes HIV-1 Gag to the cytosol and greatly reduces HIV-1 release efficiency. In this study, we sought to determine the role of the MA-PI(4,5)P2 interaction in Gag localization and membrane binding of a deltaretrovirus, human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1). We compared the chimeric HIV-1 Gag (HTMA), in which MA was replaced with HTLV-1 MA, with wild-type HIV-1 and HTLV-1 Gag for PI(4,5)P2 dependence. Our results demonstrate that, unlike HIV-1 Gag, subcellular localization of and VLP release by HTLV-1 and HTMA Gag were minimally sensitive to 5ptaseIV overexpression. These results suggest that the interaction of HTLV-1 MA with PI(4,5)P2 is not essential for HTLV-1 particle assembly. Furthermore, liposome-binding analyses showed that both HTLV-1 and HTMA Gag can bind membrane efficiently even in the absence of PI(4,5)P2. Efficient HTLV-1 Gag binding to liposomes was largely driven by electrostatic interaction, unlike that of HIV-1 Gag, which required specific interaction with PI(4,5)P2. Furthermore, membrane binding of HTLV-1 Gag in vitro was not suppressed by RNA, in contrast to HIV-1 Gag. Altogether, our data suggest that Gag targeting and membrane binding mediated by HTLV-1 MA does not require PI(4,5)P2 and that distinct mechanisms regulate HIV-1 and HTLV-1 Gag membrane binding.
PMCID: PMC3126146  PMID: 21289126
6.  Opposing Effects of a Tyrosine-Based Sorting Motif and a PDZ-Binding Motif Regulate Human T-Lymphotropic Virus Type 1 Envelope Trafficking▿  
Journal of Virology  2010;84(14):6995-7004.
Human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) envelope (Env) glycoprotein mediates binding of the virus to its receptor on the surface of target cells and subsequent fusion of virus and cell membranes. To better understand the mechanisms that control HTLV-1 Env trafficking and activity, we have examined two protein-protein interaction motifs in the cytoplasmic domain of Env. One is the sequence YSLI, which matches the consensus YXXΦ motifs that are known to interact with various adaptor protein complexes; the other is the sequence ESSL at the C terminus of Env, which matches the consensus PDZ-binding motif. We show here that mutations that destroy the YXXΦ motif increased Env expression on the cell surface and increased cell-cell fusion activity. In contrast, mutation of the PDZ-binding motif greatly diminished Env expression in cells, which could be restored to wild-type levels either by mutating the YXXΦ motif or by silencing AP2 and AP3, suggesting that interactions with PDZ proteins oppose an Env degradation pathway mediated by AP2 and AP3. Silencing of the PDZ protein hDlg1 did not affect Env expression, suggesting that hDlg1 is not a binding partner for Env. Substitution of the YSLI sequence in HTLV-1 Env with YXXΦ elements from other cell or virus membrane-spanning proteins resulted in alterations in Env accumulation in cells, incorporation into virions, and virion infectivity. Env variants containing YXXΦ motifs that are predicted to have high-affinity interaction with AP2 accumulated to lower steady-state levels. Interestingly, mutations that destroy the YXXΦ motif resulted in viruses that were not infectious by cell-free or cell-associated routes of infection. Unlike YXXΦ, the function of the PDZ-binding motif manifests itself only in the producer cells; AP2 silencing restored the incorporation of PDZ-deficient Env into virus-like particles (VLPs) and the infectivity of these VLPs to wild-type levels.
PMCID: PMC2898256  PMID: 20463077
7.  Quantitative Comparison of HTLV-1 and HIV-1 Cell-to-Cell Infection with New Replication Dependent Vectors 
PLoS Pathogens  2010;6(2):e1000788.
We have developed an efficient method to quantify cell-to-cell infection with single-cycle, replication dependent reporter vectors. This system was used to examine the mechanisms of infection with HTLV-1 and HIV-1 vectors in lymphocyte cell lines. Effector cells transfected with reporter vector, packaging vector, and Env expression plasmid produced virus-like particles that transduced reporter gene activity into cocultured target cells with zero background. Reporter gene expression was detected exclusively in target cells and required an Env-expression plasmid and a viral packaging vector, which provided essential structural and enzymatic proteins for virus replication. Cell-cell fusion did not contribute to infection, as reporter protein was rarely detected in syncytia. Coculture of transfected Jurkat T cells and target Raji/CD4 B cells enhanced HIV-1 infection two fold and HTLV-1 infection ten thousand fold in comparison with cell-free infection of Raji/CD4 cells. Agents that interfere with actin and tubulin polymerization strongly inhibited HTLV-1 and modestly decreased HIV-1 cell-to-cell infection, an indication that cytoskeletal remodeling was more important for HTLV-1 transmission. Time course studies showed that HTLV-1 transmission occurred very rapidly after cell mixing, whereas slower kinetics of HIV-1 coculture infection implies a different mechanism of infectious transmission. HTLV-1 Tax was demonstrated to play an important role in altering cell-cell interactions that enhance virus infection and replication. Interestingly, superantigen-induced synapses between Jurkat cells and Raji/CD4 cells did not enhance infection for either HTLV-1 or HIV-1. In general, the dependence on cell-to-cell infection was determined by the virus, the effector and target cell types, and by the nature of the cell-cell interaction.
Author Summary
Cell-free virus particles released from infected cells can be transmitted to target cells by diffusion or may be conveyed directly to target cells via specific intercellular contacts; the latter is referred to as cell-to-cell infection. Microscopic imaging has shown how viral proteins and virus particles move within and between cells, accumulating at sites of cell-cell contact. While we suspect that these images represent virus infection, it has been difficult to accurately quantify virus replication and provirus formation in most cell-to-cell infection experiments. Retroviral vectors that encode reporter proteins have been invaluable tools for analyzing retrovirus replication and restriction, but they have had limited utility in cell-to-cell infection studies due to high background noise resulting from reporter expression in the producer cells. We report the construction and characterization of retroviral vectors that express reporter protein exclusively in target cells and only after completing a full replication cycle. We have validated this approach and have begun to analyze cell and virus determinants for cell-to-cell infection with vectors for two human retroviruses that infect T cells. We show that the mechanism of transmission and ensuing virus replication depend on the particular virus, the effector and target cell types, and on the specific type of cell-cell interaction.
PMCID: PMC2829072  PMID: 20195464
8.  Assembly of the Murine Leukemia Virus Is Directed towards Sites of Cell–Cell Contact 
PLoS Biology  2009;7(7):e1000163.
Applying 4D imaging, this study investigates the mechanism by which cell-cell contact enhances retrovirus spreading and demonstrates that viral budding is highly polarized towards sites of cell-cell contact.
We have investigated the underlying mechanism by which direct cell–cell contact enhances the efficiency of cell-to-cell transmission of retroviruses. Applying 4D imaging to a model retrovirus, the murine leukemia virus, we directly monitor and quantify sequential assembly, release, and transmission events for individual viral particles as they happen in living cells. We demonstrate that de novo assembly is highly polarized towards zones of cell–cell contact. Viruses assembled approximately 10-fold more frequently at zones of cell contact with no change in assembly kinetics. Gag proteins were drawn to adhesive zones formed by viral Env glycoprotein and its cognate receptor to promote virus assembly at cell–cell contact. This process was dependent on the cytoplasmic tail of viral Env. Env lacking the cytoplasmic tail while still allowing for contact formation, failed to direct virus assembly towards contact sites. Our data describe a novel role for the viral Env glycoprotein in establishing cell–cell adhesion and polarization of assembly prior to becoming a fusion protein to allow virus entry into cells.
Author Summary
Retroviruses such as the human immunodeficiency virus are known to spread much more efficiently under conditions of direct cell–cell contact as compared to cell-free conditions. How cell–cell contact stimulates virus spreading is poorly understood. In this study, we apply four-dimensional imaging (3D space over time) of a model retrovirus to directly monitor and quantify the events of assembly, release, and transmission of individual viral particles in real time in living cells. Our work reveals that after contacts are established between virus-producing cells and uninfected target cells, the majority of virus particle assembly is initiated at sites of cell–cell contact. The ability of the virus to direct assembly of its particles towards sites of cell–cell contact is dependent on the presence of the cytoplasmic tail of the viral envelope glycoprotein. When this cytoplasmic tail was deleted, virus assembly at cell–cell contacts was no longer enhanced. This study contributes to an emerging model in which several steps of the viral life cycle are efficiently coordinated at sites of cell–cell contact, thereby promoting the spreading of viral infection to neighboring cells.
PMCID: PMC2709449  PMID: 19636361
10.  Intersubunit Disulfide Isomerization Controls Membrane Fusion of Human T-Cell Leukemia Virus Env▿  
Journal of Virology  2008;82(14):7135-7143.
Human T-cell leukemia virus (HTLV-1) Env carries a typical disulfide isomerization motif, C225XXC, in the C-terminal domain SU. Here we have tested whether this motif is used for isomerization of the intersubunit disulfide of Env and whether this rearrangement is required for membrane fusion. We introduced the C225A and C228A mutations into Env and found that the former but not the latter mutant matured into covalently linked SU-TM complexes in transfected cells. Next, we constructed a secreted Env ectodomain and showed that it underwent incubation-dependent intersubunit disulfide isomerization on target cells. However, the rearrangement was blocked by the C225A mutation, suggesting that C225 carried the isomerization-active thiol. Still, it was possible to reduce the intersubunit disulfide of the native C225A ectodomain mutant with dithiothreitol (DTT). The importance of the CXXC-mediated disulfide isomerization for infection was studied using murine leukemia virus vectors pseudotyped with wild-type or C225A HTLV-1 Env. We found that the mutant Env blocked infection, but this could be rescued with DTT. The fusion activity was tested in a fusion-from-within assay using a coculture of rat XC target and transfected BHK-21 effector cells. We found that the mutation blocked polykaryon formation, but this could be reversed with DTT. Similar DTT-reversible inhibition of infection and fusion was observed when a membrane-impermeable alkylator was present during the infection/fusion incubation. We conclude that the fusion activity of HTLV-1 Env is controlled by an SU CXXC-mediated isomerization of the intersubunit disulfide. Thus, this extends the applicability of the isomerization model from gammaretroviruses to deltaretroviruses.
PMCID: PMC2446982  PMID: 18480461
11.  Interactions of Murine APOBEC3 and Human APOBEC3G with Murine Leukemia Viruses▿  
Journal of Virology  2008;82(13):6566-6575.
APOBEC3 proteins are cytidine deaminases which help defend cells against retroviral infections. One antiviral mechanism involves deaminating dC residues in minus-strand DNA during reverse transcription, resulting in G-to-A mutations in the coding strand. We investigated the effects of mouse APOBEC3 (mA3) and human APOBEC3G (hA3G) upon Moloney murine leukemia virus (MLV). We find that mA3 inactivates MLV but is significantly less effective against MLV than is hA3G. In contrast, mA3 is as potent against human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1, lacking the protective Vif protein) as is hA3G. The two APOBEC3 proteins are packaged to similar extents in MLV particles. Dose-response profiles imply that a single APOBEC3 molecule (or oligomer) is sufficient to inactivate an MLV particle. The inactivation of MLV by mA3 and hA3G is accompanied by relatively small reductions in the amount of viral DNA in infected cells. Although hA3G induces significant levels of G-to-A mutations in both MLV and HIV DNAs, and mA3 induces these mutations in HIV DNA, no such mutations were detected in DNA synthesized by MLV inactivated by mA3. Thus, MLV has apparently evolved to partially resist the antiviral effects of mA3 and to totally resist the ability of mA3 to induce G-to-A mutation in viral DNA. Unlike the resistance of HIV-1 and human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 to hA3G, the resistance of MLV to mA3 is not mediated by the exclusion of APOBEC from the virus particle. The nature of its resistance and the mechanism of inactivation of MLV by mA3 are completely unknown.
PMCID: PMC2447093  PMID: 18448535
12.  The Role of WWP1-Gag Interaction and Gag Ubiquitination in Assembly and Release of Human T-Cell Leukemia Virus Type 1▿  
Journal of Virology  2007;81(18):9769-9777.
The PPPY motif in the matrix (MA) domain of human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) Gag associates with WWP1, a member of the HECT domain containing family of E3 ubiquitin ligases. Mutation of the PPPY motif arrests particle assembly at an early stage and abolishes ubiquitination of MA. Similar effects are seen when Gag is expressed in the presence of a truncated form of WWP1 that lacks the catalytically active HECT domain (C2WW). To understand the role of ubiquitination in budding, we mutated the four lysines in MA to arginines and identified lysine 74 as the unique site of ubiquitination. Virus-like particles produced by the K74R mutant did not contain ubiquitinated MA and showed a fourfold reduction in the release of infectious particles. Furthermore, the K74R mutation rendered assembly hypersensitive to C2WW inhibition; K74R Gag budding was inhibited at significantly lower levels of expression of C2WW compared with wild-type Gag. This finding indicates that the interaction between Gag and WWP1 is required for functions other than Gag ubiquitination. Additionally, we show that the PPPY− mutant Gag exerts a strong dominant-negative effect on the budding of wild-type Gag, further supporting the importance of recruitment of WWP1 to achieve particle assembly.
PMCID: PMC2045422  PMID: 17609263
13.  Human T-Cell Leukemia Virus Type 1 Integration Target Sites in the Human Genome: Comparison with Those of Other Retroviruses▿ ‡ 
Journal of Virology  2007;81(12):6731-6741.
Retroviral integration into the host genome is not entirely random, and integration site preferences vary among different retroviruses. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) prefers to integrate within active genes, whereas murine leukemia virus (MLV) prefers to integrate near transcription start sites and CpG islands. On the other hand, integration of avian sarcoma-leukosis virus (ASLV) shows little preference either for genes, transcription start sites, or CpG islands. While host cellular factors play important roles in target site selection, the viral integrase is probably the major viral determinant. It is reasonable to hypothesize that retroviruses with similar integrases have similar preferences for target site selection. Although integration profiles are well defined for members of the lentivirus, spumaretrovirus, alpharetrovirus, and gammaretrovirus genera, no members of the deltaretroviruses, for example, human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1), have been evaluated. We have mapped 541 HTLV-1 integration sites in human HeLa cells and show that HTLV-1, like ASLV, does not specifically target transcription units and transcription start sites. Comparing the integration sites of HTLV-1 with those of ASLV, HIV, simian immunodeficiency virus, MLV, and foamy virus, we show that global and local integration site preferences correlate with the sequence/structure of virus-encoded integrases, supporting the idea that integrase is the major determinant of retroviral integration site selection. Our results suggest that the global integration profiles of other retroviruses could be predicted from phylogenetic comparisons of the integrase proteins. Our results show that retroviruses that engender different insertional mutagenesis risks can have similar integration profiles.
PMCID: PMC1900082  PMID: 17409138
14.  Phenotypic and Genotypic Comparisons of Human T-Cell Leukemia Virus Type 1 Reverse Transcriptases from Infected T-Cell Lines and Patient Samples▿  
Journal of Virology  2007;81(9):4422-4428.
It is well established that cell-free infection with human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is less efficient than that with other retroviruses, though the specific infectivities of only a limited number of HTLV-1 isolates have been quantified. Earlier work indicated that a postentry step in the infectious cycle accounted for the poor cell-free infectivity of HTLV-1. To determine whether variations in the pol gene sequence correlated with virus infectivity, we sequenced and phenotypically tested pol genes from a variety of HTLV-1 isolates derived from primary sources, transformed cell lines, and molecular clones. The pol genes and deduced amino acid sequences from 23 proviruses were sequenced and compared with 14 previously published sequences, revealing a limited number of amino acid variations among isolates. The variations appeared to be randomly dispersed among primary isolates and proviruses from cell lines and molecular clones. In addition, there was no correlation between reverse transcriptase sequence and the disease phenotype of the original source of the virus isolate. HTLV-1 pol gene fragments encoding reverse transcriptase were amplified from a variety of isolates and were subcloned into HTLV-1 vectors for both single-cycle infection and spreading-infection assays. Vectors carrying pol genes that matched the consensus sequence had the highest titers, and those with the largest number of variations from the consensus had the lowest titers. The molecular clone from CS-1 cells had four amino acid differences from the consensus sequence and yielded infectious titers that were approximately eight times lower than those of vectors encoding a consensus reverse transcriptase.
PMCID: PMC1900182  PMID: 17287279
15.  Human T-Cell Leukemia Virus Type 1 Tax Protein Down-Regulates Pre-T-Cell Receptor Alpha Gene Transcription in Human Immature Thymocytes▿  
Journal of Virology  2006;81(1):301-308.
The human pre-T-cell receptor alpha (TCRα; pTα) gene encodes a polypeptide which associates with the TCRβ chain and CD3 molecules to form the pre-TCR complex. The surface expression of the pre-TCR is pTα dependent, and signaling through this complex triggers an early αβ T-cell developmental checkpoint inside the thymus, known as β-selection. E2A transcription factors, which are involved at multiple stages of T-cell development, regulate the transcription of the pTα gene. Here we show that the regulatory protein Tax of the human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) efficiently suppresses the E47-mediated activation of the pTα promoter. Furthermore, we report that in Tax lentivirally transduced human MOLT-4 T cells, which constitutively express the pTα gene, the amount of pTα transcripts decreases. Such a decrease is not observed in MOLT-4 cells transduced by a vector encoding the Tax mutant K88A, which is unable to interact with p300. These data underline that Tax inhibits pTα transcription by recruiting this coactivator. Finally, we show that the expression of Tax in human immature thymocytes results in a decrease of pTα gene transcription but does not modify the level of E47 transcripts. These observations indicate that Tax, by silencing E proteins, down-regulates pTα gene transcription during early thymocyte development. They further provide evidence that Tax can interfere with an important checkpoint during T-cell differentiation in the thymus.
PMCID: PMC1797236  PMID: 17050604
16.  Late Assembly Motifs of Human T-Cell Leukemia Virus Type 1 and Their Relative Roles in Particle Release 
Journal of Virology  2004;78(12):6636-6648.
Three late assembly domain consensus motifs, namely PTAP, PPPY, and LYPXL, have been identified in different retroviruses. They have been shown to interact with the cellular proteins TSG101, Nedd4, and AP2 or AIP, respectively. Human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) has a PPPY and a PTAP motif, separated by two amino acids, located at the end of MA, but only the PPPY motif is conserved in the deltaretrovirus group. Like other retroviral peptides carrying the late motif, MA is mono- or di-ubiquitinated. A mutational analysis showed that 90% of PPPY mutant particles were retained in the cell compared to 15% for the wild-type virus. Mutations of the PTAP motif resulted in a 20% decrease in particle release. In single-cycle infectivity assays, the infectious titers of late motif mutants correlated with the amounts of released virus, as determined by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. We observed binding of MA to the WW domains of the Nedd4 family member WWP1 but not to the amino-terminal ubiquitin E2 variant domain of TSG101 in mammalian two-hybrid analyses. The binding to WWP1 was eliminated when the PPPY motif was mutated. However, MA showed binding to TSG101 in the yeast two-hybrid system that was dependent on an intact PTAP motif. A dominant-negative (DN) mutant of WWP1 could inhibit budding of the intact HTLV-1 virus. In contrast, DN TSG101 only affected the release of virus-like particles encoded by Gag expression plasmids. Electron and fluorescent microscopy showed that Gag accumulates in large patches in the membranes of cells expressing viruses with PPPY mutations. Very few tethered immature particles could be detected in these samples, suggesting that budding is impaired at an earlier step than in other retroviruses.
PMCID: PMC416494  PMID: 15163754
17.  A Novel Protease Processing Site in the Transframe Protein of Human T-Cell Leukemia Virus Type 1 PR76gag-pro Defines the N Terminus of RT 
Journal of Virology  2002;76(24):13101-13105.
The genomic RNA of human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 encodes three polyproteins, Gag, Gag-Pro, and Gag-Pro-Pol, which are translated as a result of no, one, and two frameshifts, respectively. In this report we demonstrate that the 77 residues encoded at the C terminus of the Gag-Pro precursor can be collectively detected as an 8-kDa transframe protein (TFP) in virions. Mutant viruses with a C-terminally truncated TFP (19, 32, or 50 residues) had essentially a wild-type phenotype in vitro. However, a virus mutant that encoded only the Gag and Gag-Pro-Pol polyproteins due to a mutation in the second frameshift site, and hence did not produce TFP, was noninfectious. Mutation analysis of the proteolytic cleavage site between PR and TFP revealed the presence of an additional site and the existence of a p1 peptide separating protease and TFP. While removal of the cleavage site at the PR-p1 junction had a modest effect on virus replication, mutation of the p1-TFP cleavage site led to noninfectious virus and the loss of reverse transcriptase activity. Determination of the amino-terminal sequence of a hemagglutinin-tagged RT demonstrated that the same site is used in processing the Gag-Pro-Pol precursor and thus defines the start of mature RT. Neither mutation alone or in combination caused changes in the amounts or processing patterns of the Gag polyprotein, indicating that protease is active independent of its C terminus.
PMCID: PMC136720  PMID: 12438640
18.  Examining Human T-Lymphotropic Virus Type 1 Infection and Replication by Cell-Free Infection with Recombinant Virus Vectors 
Journal of Virology  2001;75(18):8461-8468.
A sensitive and quantitative cell-free infection assay, utilizing recombinant human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1)-based vectors, was developed in order to analyze early events in the virus replication cycle. Previous difficulties with the low infectivity and restricted expression of the virus have prevented a clear understanding of these events. Virus stocks were generated by transfecting cells with three plasmids: (i) a packaging plasmid encoding HTLV-1 structural and regulatory proteins, (ii) an HTLV-1 transfer vector containing either firefly luciferase or enhanced yellow fluorescent protein genes, and (iii) an envelope expression plasmid. Single-round infections were initiated by exposing target cells to filtered supernatants and quantified by assaying for luciferase activity in cell extracts or by enumerating transduced cells by flow cytometry. Transduction was dependent on reverse transcription and integration of the recombinant virus genome, as shown by the effects of the reverse transcriptase inhibitor 3′-azido-3′-deoxythymidine (AZT) and by mutation of the integrase gene in the packaging vector, respectively. The 50% inhibitory concentration of AZT was determined to be 30 nM in this HTLV-1 replication system. The stability of HTLV-1 particles, pseudotyped with either vesicular stomatitis virus G protein or HTLV-1 envelope, was typical of retroviruses, exhibiting a half-life of approximately 3.5 h at 37°C. The specific infectivity of recombinant HTLV-1 virions was at least 3 orders of magnitude lower than that of analogous HIV-1 particles, though both were pseudotyped with the same envelope. Thus, the low infectivity of HTLV-1 is determined in large part by properties of the core particle and by the efficiency of postentry processes.
PMCID: PMC115091  PMID: 11507191
19.  Ternary Complex Factors and Cofactors Are Essential for Human T-Cell Leukemia Virus Type 1 Tax Transactivation of the Serum Response Element 
Journal of Virology  2000;74(23):11394-11397.
The human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 Tax protein activates the expression of cellular immediate early genes controlled by the serum response element (SRE), which contains both the serum response factor (SRF) binding element (CArG box) and the ternary complex factor (TCF) binding element (Ets box). We show that TCF binding is necessary for Tax activation of the SRE and that Tax directly interacts with TCFs in vitro. In addition, Tax interactions with CREB binding protein (CBP) and p300- and CBP-associated factor were found to be essential for Tax activation of SRF-mediated transcription.
PMCID: PMC113245  PMID: 11070040
20.  Differential Requirements for Alternative Splicing and Nuclear Export Functions of Equine Infectious Anemia Virus Rev Protein 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1998;18(7):3889-3899.
The Rev protein of equine infectious anemia virus (ERev) exports unspliced and partially spliced viral RNAs from the nucleus. Like several cellular proteins, ERev regulates its own mRNA by mediating an alternative splicing event. To determine the requirements for these functions, we have identified ERev mutants that affect RNA export or both export and alternative splicing. Mutants were further characterized for subcellular localization, nuclear-cytoplasmic shuttling, and multimerization. None of the nuclear export signal (NES) mutants are defective for alternative splicing. Furthermore, the NES of ERev is similar in composition but distinct in spacing from other leucine-rich NESs. Basic residues at the C terminus of ERev are involved in nuclear localization, and disruption of the C-terminal residues affects both functions of ERev. ERev forms multimers, and no mutation disrupts this activity. In two mutants with substitutions of charged residues in the middle of ERev, RNA export is affected. One of these mutants is also defective for ERev-mediated alternative splicing but is identical to wild-type ERev in its localization, shuttling, and multimerization. Together, these results demonstrate that the two functions of ERev both require nuclear import and at least one other common activity, but RNA export can be separated from alternative splicing based on its requirement for a functional NES.
PMCID: PMC108973  PMID: 9632773
21.  Inhibition of Acute-, Latent-, and Chronic-Phase Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 (HIV-1) Replication by a Bistriazoloacridone Analog That Selectively Inhibits HIV-1 Transcription 
Nanomolar concentrations of temacrazine (1,4-bis[3-(6-oxo-6H-v-triazolo[4,5,1-de]acridin-5-yl)amino-propyl]piperazine) were discovered to inhibit acute human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infections and suppress the production of virus from chronically and latently infected cells containing integrated proviral DNA. This bistriazoloacridone derivative exerted its mechanism of antiviral action through selective inhibition of HIV-1 transcription during the postintegrative phase of virus replication. Mechanistic studies revealed that temacrazine blocked HIV-1 RNA formation without interference with the transcription of cellular genes or with events associated with the HIV-1 Tat and Rev regulatory proteins. Although temacrazine inhibited the in vitro 3′ processing and strand transfer activities of HIV-1 integrase, with a 50% inhibitory concentration of approximately 50 nM, no evidence of an inhibitory effect on the intracellular integration of proviral DNA into the cellular genome during the early phase of infection could be detected. Furthermore, temacrazine did not interfere with virus attachment or fusion to host cells or the enzymatic activities of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase or protease, and the compound was not directly virucidal. Demonstration of in vivo anti-HIV-1 activity by temacrazine identifies bistriazoloacridones as a new class of pharmaceuticals that selectively blocks HIV-1 transcription.
PMCID: PMC105487  PMID: 9517921

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