The vif gene of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is essential for viral replication, although the functional target of Vif remains elusive. HIV-1 vif mutant virions derived from nonpermissive H9 cells displayed no significant differences in the amount, ratio, or integrity of their protein composition relative to an isogenic wild-type virion. The amounts of the virion-associated viral genomic RNA and tRNA(3)/(Lys) were additionally present at normal levels in vif mutant virions. We demonstrate that Vif associates with RNA in vitro as well as with viral genomic RNA in virus-infected cells. A functionally conserved lentivirus Vif motif was found in the double-stranded RNA binding domain of Xenopus laevis, Xlrbpa. The natural intravirion reverse transcriptase products were markedly reduced in vif mutant virions. Moreover, purified vif mutant genomic RNA-primer tRNA complexes displayed severe defects in the initiation of reverse transcription with recombinant reverse transcriptase. These data point to a novel role for Vif in the regulation of efficient reverse transcription through modulation of the virion nucleic acid components.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science