Scientific reports 2016 04 226() 24934 doi 10.1038/srep24934
The HIV-1 accessory protein Vpu enhances virus release by counteracting the host restriction factor tetherin. To further understand the role of host cell proteins in Vpu function, we carried out yeast two-hybrid screening and identified a previously reported Vpu-interacting host factor, small glutamine-rich tetratricopeptide repeat-containing protein (SGTA). While RNAi-mediated depletion of SGTA did not significantly affect levels of tetherin or virus release efficiency, we observed that overexpression of SGTA inhibited HIV-1 release in a Vpu- and tetherin-independent manner. Overexpression of SGTA in the presence of Vpu, but not in its absence, resulted in a marked stabilization and cytosolic relocalization of a 23-kDa, non-glycosylated tetherin species. Coimmunoprecipitation studies indicated that non-glycosylated tetherin is stabilized through the formation of a ternary SGTA/Vpu/tetherin complex. This accumulation of non-glycosylated tetherin is due to inhibition of its degradation, independent of the ER-associated degradation (ERAD) pathway. Because the SGTA-stabilized tetherin species is partially localized to the cytosol, we propose that overexpression of SGTA in the presence of Vpu blocks the translocation of tetherin across the ER membrane, resulting in cytosolic accumulation of a non-glycosylated tetherin species. Although our results do not provide support for a physiological function of SGTA in HIV-1 replication, they demonstrate that SGTA overexpression regulates tetherin expression and stability, thus providing insights into the function of SGTA in ER translocation and protein degradation.