Restoration of wild-type infectivity to human immunodeficiency virus type 1 strains lacking nef by intravirion reverse transcription.

Department of Microbiology/Biochemistry/Immunology, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia 30310, USA.
Journal of Virology (Impact Factor: 4.65). 01/2002; 75(24):12081-7. DOI: 10.1128/JVI.75.24.12081-12087.2001
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) Nef protein exerts several effects, both on infected cells and as a virion protein, which work together to enhance viral replication. One of these activities is the ability to enhance infectivity and the formation of proviral DNA. The mechanism of this enhancement remains incompletely understood. We show that virions with nef deleted can be restored to wild-type infectivity by stimulating intravirion reverse transcription. Particle composition and measures of reverse transcriptase activity remain the same for Nef(+) and Nef(-) virions both before and after natural endogenous reverse transcription (NERT) treatment. The effect of NERT treatment on virions pseudotyped with murine leukemia virus envelope protein was similar to that on particles pseudotyped with HIV-1 envelope protein. However, virions pseudotyped with vesicular stomatitis virus G envelope protein showed no influence of Nef on NERT enhancement of infectivity. These observations suggest that Nef may function at a level prior to reverse transcription. Since NERT treatment results in partial disassembly of the viral core, we speculate that Nef may function at the level of core particle disassembly.

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