N-Terminal Extension of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Capsid Protein Converts the In Vitro Assembly Phenotype from Tubular to Spherical Particles

Ingolf Gross, Heinz Hohenberg, Carola Huckhagel, Hans-Georg Kräusslich
1998 Journal of Virology  
Expression of retroviral Gag polyproteins is sufficient for morphogenesis of virus-like particles with a spherical immature protein shell. Proteolytic cleavage of Gag into the matrix (MA), capsid (CA), nucleocapsid (NC), and p6 domains (in the case of human immunodeficiency virus [HIV]) leads to condensation to the mature cone-shaped core. We have analyzed the formation of spherical or cylindrical particles on in vitro assembly of purified HIV proteins or inside Escherichia coli cells. CA
more » ... oli cells. CA protein alone yielded cylindrical particles, while all N-terminal extensions of CA abolished cylinder formation. Spherical particles with heterogeneous diameters or amorphous protein aggregates were observed instead. Extending CA by 5 amino acids was sufficient to convert the assembly phenotype to spherical particles. Sequences C-terminal of CA were not required for sphere formation. Proteolytic cleavage of N-terminally extended CA proteins prior to in vitro assembly led to the formation of cylindrical particles, while proteolysis of in vitro assembly products caused disruption of spheres but not formation of cylinders. In vitro assembly of CA and extended CA proteins in the presence of cyclophilin A (CypA) at a CA-to-CypA molar ratio of 10:1 yielded significantly longer cylinders and heterogeneous spheres, while higher concentrations of CypA completely disrupted particle formation. We conclude that the spherical shape of immature HIV particles is determined by the presence of an N-terminal extension on the CA domain and that core condensation during virion maturation requires the liberation of the N terminus of CA.
doi:10.1128/jvi.72.6.4798-4810.1998 fatcat:sjxrldgthnfefcrb5hj2babyye