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J Biol Chem 2018 Jul 27;293(30):11687-708

PTAP motif duplication in the p6 Gag protein confers a replication advantage on HIV-1 subtype C.

Sharma S, Arunachalam PS, Menon M, Ragupathy V, Satya RV, Jebaraj J, Ganeshappa Aralaguppe S, Rao C, Pal S, Saravanan S, Murugavel KG, Balakrishnan P, Solomon S, Hewlett I, Ranga U


HIV-1 subtype C (HIV-1C) may duplicate longer amino acid stretches in the p6 Gag protein, leading to the creation of an additional Pro-Thr/Ser-Ala-Pro (PTAP) motif necessary for viral packaging. However, the biological significance of a duplication of the PTAP motif for HIV-1 replication and pathogenesis has not been experimentally validated. In a longitudinal study of two different clinical cohorts of select HIV-1 seropositive, drug-naive individuals from India, we found that 8 of 50 of these individuals harbored a mixed infection of viral strains discordant for the PTAP duplication. Conventional and next-generation sequencing of six primary viral quasispecies at multiple time points disclosed that in a mixed infection, the viral strains containing the PTAP duplication dominated the infection. The dominance of the double-PTAP viral strains over a genetically similar single-PTAP viral clone was confirmed in viral proliferation and pairwise competition assays. Of note, in the proximity ligation assay, double-PTAP Gag proteins exhibited a significantly enhanced interaction with the host protein tumor susceptibility gene 101 (Tsg101). Moreover, Tsg101 overexpression resulted in a biphasic effect on HIV-1C proliferation - an enhanced effect at low concentration and an inhibitory effect only at higher concentrations - unlike a uniformly inhibitory effect on subtype B strains. In summary, our results indicate that the duplication of the PTAP motif in the p6 Gag protein enhances the replication fitness of HIV-1C by engaging the Tsg101 host protein with a higher affinity. Our results have implications for HIV-1 pathogenesis, especially of HIV-1C.

Category: Journal Article
PubMed ID: #29773649 DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M117.815829
PubMed Central ID: #PMC6066301
Includes FDA Authors from Scientific Area(s): Biologics
Entry Created: 2018-05-20 Entry Last Modified: 2018-08-19