Highly conserved amino acids in the second helix structure of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) MA protein were identified to be critical for the incorporation of vital Env proteins into HIV-1 virions from transfected COS-7 cells. The effects of these MA mutations on viral replication in the HIV-1 natural target cells, CD4+ T lymphocytes, were evaluated by using a newly developed system. In CD4+ T lymphocytes, mutations in the MA domain of HIV-1 Gag also inhibited the incorporation of vital Env proteins into mature HIV-1 virions. Furthermore, mutations in the MA domain of HIV-1 Gag reduced surface expression of viral Env proteins in CD4+ T lymphocytes. The synthesis of gp160 and cleavage of gp160 to gp120 were not significantly affected by MA mutations. On the other hand, the stability of gp120 in MA mutant-infected cells was significantly reduced compared to that in the parental wild-type virus-infected cells. These results suggest that functional interaction between HIV-1 Gag and Env proteins is not only critical for efficient incorporation of Env proteins into mature virions but also important for proper intracellular transport and stable surface expression of viral Env proteins in infected CD4+ T lymphocytes. A single amino acid substitution in MA abolished virus infectivity in dividing CD4+ T lymphocytes without significantly affecting virus assembly, virus release, or incorporation of Gag-Pol and Env proteins, suggesting that in addition to its functional role in virus assembly, the MA protein of HIV-1 also plays an important role in other steps of virus replication.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science