|Publisher||Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory|
The HIV-1 Gag precursor specifically selects the unspliced viral genomic RNA (gRNA) from the bulk of cellular and spliced viral RNAs via its nucleocapsid (NC) domain and drives gRNA encapsidation at the plasma membrane (PM). To further identify the determinants governing the intracellular trafficking of Gag-gRNA complexes and their accumulation at the PM, we compared, in living and fixed cells, the interactions between gRNA and wild-type (WT) Gag or Gag mutants carrying deletions in NC zinc fingers (ZFs), or a non-myristoylated version of Gag. Our data showed that the deletion of both ZFs simultaneously or the complete NC domain completely abolished intracytoplasmic Gag-gRNA interactions. Deletion of either ZF delayed the delivery of gRNA to the PM but did not prevent Gag-gRNA interactions in the cytoplasm, indicating that the two ZFs display redundant roles in this respect. However, ZF2 played a more prominent role than ZF1 in the accumulation of the ribonucleoprotein complexes at the PM. Finally, the myristate group which is mandatory for anchoring the complexes at the MP, was found to be dispensable for the association of Gag with the gRNA in the cytosol.
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