(1/1679) A novel Vpr peptide interactor fused to integrase (IN) restores integration activity to IN-defective HIV-1 virions.

A novel approach to complement human immunodeficiency virus type I (HIV-1) integrase (IN)-defective virions has been identified. The approach involves fusion of a 23-amino-acid stretch to the N-terminus of wild-type IN and coexpression of this chimera with the IN-defective proviral template in virus producing cells. The 23-amino-acid peptide represents a Vpr "interactor," referred to as the the WxxF or WF domain, which apparently leads to docking of the domain along with the fusion partner onto HIV-1 Vpr, thus permitting virion incorporation of the chimeric protein when expressed, in trans, with other viral products. Transfection of the WF-IN expression plasmid along with HIV-1 viral clones that produce Vpr, but bear an IN mutation, results in the release of a proportion of viral particles that are competent for integration. The extent of complementation was assessed using the MAGI cell assay, where integration of viral DNA results in the eventual appearance of easily visible multinucleated blue syncytia. The efficiency of dWF-IN (double copy of WF domain) complementation is not improved markedly by incorporation of a HIV-1 protease cleavage site (PR) between the dWF domain and IN (dWF-PR-IN), unlike that observed with Vpr fusions to IN. Furthermore, the ability of Vpr-PR-IN and dWF-PR-IN to complement IN-defective proviral clones, both of which bear an intervening protease cleavage site, appear comparable. Western blotting analyses using virions isolated through sucrose cushions demonstrate clearly the incorporation of the dWF-IN fusion protein into Vpr containing HIV-1 particles but not in Vpr-deficient virions. Additional Western blotting analyses indicate that all Vpr-IN and dWF-IN chimeras, with or without a PR site, are packaged into virions. The efficiency of virion incorporation of Vpr-IN and dWF-IN chimeras appears approximately comparable by Western blotting analysis. The ability of dWF-IN to complement IN-defective proviruses with efficiency similar to that of Vpr-PR-IN and dWF-PR-IN indicates that dWF-IN retains the full complement of functions necessary for integration of proviral DNA and is likely due to the benign nature of this small domain at the amino-terminus of IN.  (+info)

(2/1679) Inhibition of the rous sarcoma virus long terminal repeat-driven transcription by in vitro methylation: different sensitivity in permissive chicken cells versus mammalian cells.

Rous sarcoma virus (RSV) enhancer sequences in the long terminal repeat (LTR) have previously been shown to be sensitive to CpG methylation. We report further that the high density methylation of the RSV LTR-driven chloramphenicol acetyltransferase reporter is needed for full transcriptional inhibition in chicken embryo fibroblasts and for suppression of tumorigenicity of the RSV proviral DNA in chickens. In nonpermissive mammalian cells, however, the low density methylation is sufficient for full inhibition. The time course of inhibition differs strikingly in avian and mammalian cells: although immediately inhibited in mammalian cells, the methylated RSV LTR-driven reporter is fully inhibited with a significant delay after transfection in avian cells. Moreover, transcriptional inhibition can be overridden by transfection with a high dose of the methylated reporter plasmid in chicken cells but not in hamster cells. The LTR, v-src, LTR proviral DNA is easily capable of inducing sarcomas in chickens but not in hamsters. In contrast, Moloney murine leukemia virus LTR-driven v-src induces sarcomas in hamsters with high incidence. Therefore, the repression of integrated RSV proviruses in rodent cells is directed against the LTR.  (+info)

(3/1679) Interactions between Tat and TAR and human immunodeficiency virus replication are facilitated by human cyclin T1 but not cyclins T2a or T2b.

The transcriptional transactivator (Tat) from the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) does not function efficiently in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells. Only somatic cell hybrids between CHO and human cells and CHO cells containing human chromosome 12 (CHO12) support high levels of Tat transactivation. This restriction was mapped to interactions between Tat and TAR. Recently, human cyclin T1 was found to increase the binding of Tat to TAR and levels of Tat transactivation in rodent cells. By combining individually with CDK9, cyclin T1 or related cyclins T2a and T2b form distinct positive transcription elongation factor b (P-TEFb) complexes. In this report, we found that of these three cyclins, only cyclin T1 is encoded on human chromosome 12 and is responsible for its effects in CHO cells. Moreover, only human cyclin T1, not mouse cyclin T1 or human cyclins T2a or T2b, supported interactions between Tat and TAR in vitro. Finally, after introducing appropriate receptors and human cyclin T1 into CHO cells, they became permissive for infection by and replication of HIV.  (+info)

(4/1679) Incorporation of Vpr into human immunodeficiency virus type 1 requires a direct interaction with the p6 domain of the p55 gag precursor.

The 96-amino acid Vpr protein is the major virion-associated accessory protein of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). As Vpr is not part of the p55 Gag polyprotein precursor (Pr55(gag)), its incorporation requires an anchor to associate with the assembling viral particles. Although the molecular mechanism is presently unclear, the C-terminal region of the Pr55(gag) corresponding to the p6 domain appears to constitute such an anchor essential for the incorporation of the Vpr protein. In order to clarify the mechanism by which the Vpr accessory protein is trans-incorporated into progeny virion particles, we tested whether HIV-1 Vpr interacted with the Pr55(gag) using the yeast two-hybrid system and the maltose-binding protein pull-down assay. The present study provides genetic and biochemical evidence indicating that the Pr55(gag) can physically interact with the Vpr protein. Furthermore, point mutations affecting the integrity of the conserved L-X-S-L-F-G motif of p6(gag) completely abolish the interaction between Vpr and the Pr55(gag) and, as a consequence, prevent Vpr virion incorporation. In contrast to other studies, mutations affecting the integrity of the NCp7 zinc fingers impaired neither Vpr virion incorporation nor the binding between Vpr and the Pr55(gag). Conversely, amino acid substitutions in Vpr demonstrate that an intact N-terminal alpha-helical structure is essential for the Vpr-Pr55(gag) interaction. Vpr and the Pr55(gag) demonstrate a strong interaction in vitro as salt concentrations as high as 900 mM could not disrupt the interaction. Finally, the interaction is efficiently competed using anti-Vpr sera. Together, these results strongly suggest that Vpr trans-incorporation into HIV-1 particles requires a direct interaction between its N-terminal region and the C-terminal region of p6(gag). The development of Pr55(gag)-Vpr interaction assays may allow the screening of molecules that can prevent the incorporation of the Vpr accessory protein into HIV-1 virions, and thus inhibit its early functions.  (+info)

(5/1679) Viral burden and disease progression in rhesus monkeys infected with chimeric simian-human immunodeficiency viruses.

To determine the role of viral burden in simian-human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV)-induced disease, cellular provirus and plasma viral RNA levels were measured after inoculation of rhesus monkeys with four different SHIVs. These SHIVs included SHIV-HXBc2 and SHIV-89.6, constructed with env, tat, rev, and vpu derived from either cell line-passaged or primary patient isolates of human immunodeficiency virus type 1; the viral quasispecies SHIV-89.6P derived after in vivo passage of SHIV-89.6; and a molecular clone, SHIV-KB9, derived from SHIV-89.6P. SHIV-HXBc2 and SHIV-89.6 are nonpathogenic in rhesus monkeys; SHIV-89.6P and SHIV-KB9 cause rapid CD4(+) T cell depletion and an immunodeficiency syndrome. Relative SHIV provirus levels were highest during primary infection in monkeys infected with SHIV-89.6P, the virus that caused the most rapid and dramatic CD4(+) T cell depletion. However, by 10 weeks postinoculation, provirus levels were similar in monkeys infected with the pathogenic and nonpathogenic chimeric viruses. The virus infections that resulted in the highest peak and chronic viral RNA levels were the pathogenic viruses SHIV-89.6P and SHIV-KB9. SHIV-89. 6P uniformly caused rapid and profound CD4(+) T cell depletion and immunodeficiency. Infection with the SHIV-KB9 resulted in very low CD4(+) T cell counts without seroconversion in some monkeys and a substantial but less profound CD4(+) T cell depletion and rapid seroconversion in others. Surprisingly, the level of plasma viremia did not differ between SHIV-KB9-infected animals exhibiting these contrasting outcomes, suggesting that host factors may play an important role in AIDS virus pathogenesis.  (+info)

(6/1679) Development of viral vectors for gene therapy of beta-chain hemoglobinopathies: optimization of a gamma-globin gene expression cassette.

Progress toward gene therapy of beta-chain hemoglobinopathies has been limited in part by poor expression of globin genes in virus vectors. To derive an optimal expression cassette, we systematically analyzed the sequence requirements and relative strengths of the Agamma- and beta-globin promoters, the activities of various erythroid-specific enhancers, and the importance of flanking and intronic sequences. Expression was analyzed by RNase protection after stable plasmid transfection of the murine erythroleukemia cell line, MEL585. Promoter truncation studies showed that the Agamma-globin promoter could be deleted to -159 without affecting expression, while deleting the beta-globin promoter to -127 actually increased expression compared with longer fragments. Expression from the optimal beta-globin gene promoter was consistently higher than that from the optimal Agamma-globin promoter, regardless of the enhancer used. Enhancers tested included a 2.5-kb composite of the beta-globin locus control region (termed a muLCR), a combination of the HS2 and HS3 core elements of the LCR, and the HS-40 core element of the alpha-globin locus. All three enhancers increased expression from the beta-globin gene to roughly the same extent, while the HS-40 element was notably less effective with the Agamma-globin gene. However, the HS-40 element was able to efficiently enhance expression of a Agamma-globin gene linked to the beta-globin promoter. Inclusion of extended 3' sequences from either the beta-globin or the Agamma-globin genes had no significant effect on expression. A 714-bp internal deletion of Agamma-globin intron 2 unexpectedly increased expression more than twofold. With the combination of a -127 beta-globin promoter, an Agamma-globin gene with the internal deletion of intron 2, and a single copy of the HS-40 enhancer, gamma-globin expression averaged 166% of murine alpha-globin mRNA per copy in six pools and 105% in nine clones. When placed in a retrovirus vector, this cassette was also expressed at high levels in MEL585 cells (averaging 75% of murine alpha-globin mRNA per copy) without reducing virus titers. However, recombined provirus or aberrant splicing was observed in 5 of 12 clones, indicating a significant degree of genetic instability. Taken together, these data demonstrate the development of an optimal expression cassette for gamma-globin capable of efficient expression in a retrovirus vector and form the basis for further refinement of vectors containing this cassette.  (+info)

(7/1679) Molecular and functional analysis of a conserved CTL epitope in HIV-1 p24 recognized from a long-term nonprogressor: constraints on immune escape associated with targeting a sequence essential for viral replication.

It has been hypothesized that sequence variation within CTL epitopes leading to immune escape plays a role in the progression of HIV-1 infection. Only very limited data exist that address the influence of biologic characteristics of CTL epitopes on the emergence of immune escape variants and the efficiency of suppression HIV-1 by CTL. In this report, we studied the effects of HIV-1 CTL epitope sequence variation on HIV-1 replication. The highly conserved HLA-B14-restricted CTL epitope DRFYKTLRAE in HIV-1 p24 was examined, which had been defined as the immunodominant CTL epitope in a long-term nonprogressing individual. We generated a set of viral mutants on an HX10 background differing by a single conservative or nonconservative amino acid substitution at each of the P1 to P9 amino acid residues of the epitope. All of the nonconservative amino acid substitutions abolished viral infectivity and only 5 of 10 conservative changes yielded replication-competent virus. Recognition of these epitope sequence variants by CTL was tested using synthetic peptides. All mutations that abrogated CTL recognition strongly impaired viral replication, and all replication-competent viral variants were recognized by CTL, although some variants with a lower efficiency. Our data indicate that this CTL epitope is located within a viral sequence essential for viral replication. Targeting CTL epitopes within functionally important regions of the HIV-1 genome could limit the chance of immune evasion.  (+info)

(8/1679) Host-specific modulation of the selective constraints driving human immunodeficiency virus type 1 env gene evolution.

To address the evolution of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) within a single host, we analyzed the HIV-1 C2-V5 env regions of both cell-free genomic-RNA- and proviral-DNA-derived clones. Sequential samples were collected over a period of 3 years from six untreated subjects (three typical progressors [TPs] and three slow progressors [SPs], all with a comparable length of infection except one. The evolutionary analysis of the C2-V5 env sequences performed on 506 molecular clones (253 RNA- and 253 DNA-derived sequences) highlighted a series of differences between TPs and SPs. In particular, (i) clonal sequences from SPs (DNA and RNA) showed lower nucleotide similarity than those from TPs (P = 0. 0001), (ii) DNA clones from SPs showed higher intra- and intersample nucleotide divergence than those from TPs (P < 0.05), (iii) higher host-selective pressure was generally detectable in SPs (DNA and RNA sequences), and (iv) the increase in the genetic distance of DNA and RNA sequences over time was paralleled by an increase in both synonymous (Ks) and nonsynonymous (Ka) substitutions in TPs but only in nonsynonymous substitutions in SPs. Several individual peculiarities of the HIV-1 evolutionary dynamics emerged when the V3, V4, and V5 env regions of both TPs and SPs were evaluated separately. These peculiarities, probably reflecting host-specific features of selective constraints and their continuous modulation, are documented by the dynamics of Ka/Ks ratios of hypervariable env domains.  (+info)