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Antagonism of BST-2/Tetherin Is a Conserved Function of the Env Glycoprotein of Primary HIV-2 Isolates.

Antagonism of BST-2/Tetherin Is a Conserved Function of the Env Glycoprotein of Primary HIV-2 Isolates.
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Chen CY, Shingai M, Welbourn S, Martin MA, Borrego P, Taveira N, Strebel K,


Chen CY, Shingai M, Welbourn S, Martin MA, Borrego P, Taveira N, Strebel K, (click to view)

Chen CY, Shingai M, Welbourn S, Martin MA, Borrego P, Taveira N, Strebel K,

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Journal of virology 2016 11 2890(24) 11062-11074

Abstract

Although HIV-2 does not encode a vpu gene, the ability to antagonize bone marrow stromal antigen 2 (BST-2) is conserved in some HIV-2 isolates, where it is controlled by the Env glycoprotein. We previously reported that a single-amino-acid difference between the laboratory-adapted ROD10 and ROD14 Envs controlled the enhancement of virus release (referred to here as Vpu-like) activity. Here, we investigated how conserved the Vpu-like activity is in primary HIV-2 isolates. We found that half of the 34 tested primary HIV-2 Env isolates obtained from 7 different patients enhanced virus release. Interestingly, most HIV-2 patients harbored a mixed population of viruses containing or lacking Vpu-like activity. Vpu-like activity and Envelope functionality varied significantly among Env isolates; however, there was no direct correlation between these two functions, suggesting they evolved independently. In comparing the Env sequences from one HIV-2 patient, we found that similar to the ROD10/ROD14 Envs, a single-amino-acid change (T568I) in the ectodomain of the TM subunit was sufficient to confer Vpu-like activity to an inactive Env variant. Surprisingly, however, absence of Vpu-like activity was not correlated with absence of BST-2 interaction. Taken together, our data suggest that maintaining the ability to antagonize BST-2 is of functional relevance not only to HIV-1 but also to HIV-2 as well. Our data show that as with Vpu, binding of HIV-2 Env to BST-2 is important but not sufficient for antagonism. Finally, as observed previously, the Vpu-like activity in HIV-2 Env can be controlled by single-residue changes in the TM subunit.

IMPORTANCE
Lentiviruses such as HIV-1 and HIV-2 encode accessory proteins whose function is to overcome host restriction mechanisms. Vpu is a well-studied HIV-1 accessory protein that enhances virus release by antagonizing the host restriction factor BST-2. HIV-2 does not encode a vpu gene. Instead, the HIV-2 Env glycoprotein was found to antagonize BST-2 in some isolates. Here, we cloned multiple Env sequences from 7 HIV-2-infected patients and found that about half were able to antagonize BST-2. Importantly, most HIV-2 patients harbored a mixed population of viruses containing or lacking the ability to antagonize BST-2. In fact, in comparing Env sequences from one patient combined with site-directed mutagenesis, we were able to restore BST-2 antagonism to an inactive Env protein by a single-amino-acid change. Our data suggest that targeting BST-2 by HIV-2 Env is a dynamic process that can be regulated by simple changes in the Env sequence.

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