Packaging of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 Vif protein into virus particles is mediated through an interaction with viral genomic RNA and results in the association of Vif with the nucleoprotein complex. Despite the specificity of this process, calculations of the amount of Vif packaged have produced vastly different results. Here, we compared the efficiency of packaging of Vif into virions derived from acutely and chronically infected H9 cells. We found that Vif was efficiently packaged into virions from acutely infected cells (60 to 100 copies per virion), while packaging into virions from chronically infected H9 cells was near the limit of detection (four to six copies of Vif per virion). Superinfection by an exogenous Vif-defective virus did not rescue packaging of endogenous Vif expressed in the chronically infected culture. In contrast, exogenous Vif expressed by superinfection of wild-type virus was readily packaged (30 to 40 copies per virion). Biochemical analyses suggest that the differences in the relative packaging efficiencies were not due to gross differences in the steady-state distribution of Vif in chronically or acutely infected cells but are likely due to differences in the relative rates of de novo synthesis of Vif. Despite its low packaging efficiency, endogenously expressed Vif was sufficient to direct the production of viruses with almost wild-type infectivity. The results from our study provide novel insights into the biochemical properties of Vif and offer an explanation for the reported differences regarding Vif packaging.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science