ResearchPad - membrane-fusion https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[The role of the C<sub>2</sub>A domain of synaptotagmin 1 in asynchronous neurotransmitter release]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14623 Following nerve stimulation, there are two distinct phases of Ca2+-dependent neurotransmitter release: a fast, synchronous release phase, and a prolonged, asynchronous release phase. Each of these phases is tightly regulated and mediated by distinct mechanisms. Synaptotagmin 1 is the major Ca2+ sensor that triggers fast, synchronous neurotransmitter release upon Ca2+ binding by its C2A and C2B domains. It has also been implicated in the inhibition of asynchronous neurotransmitter release, as blocking Ca2+ binding by the C2A domain of synaptotagmin 1 results in increased asynchronous release. However, the mutation used to block Ca2+ binding in the previous experiments (aspartate to asparagine mutations, sytD-N) had the unintended side effect of mimicking Ca2+ binding, raising the possibility that the increase in asynchronous release was directly caused by ostensibly constitutive Ca2+ binding. Thus, rather than modulating an asynchronous sensor, sytD-N may be mimicking one. To directly test the C2A inhibition hypothesis, we utilized an alternate C2A mutation that we designed to block Ca2+ binding without mimicking it (an aspartate to glutamate mutation, sytD-E). Analysis of both the original sytD-N mutation and our alternate sytD-E mutation at the Drosophila neuromuscular junction showed differential effects on asynchronous release, as well as on synchronous release and the frequency of spontaneous release. Importantly, we found that asynchronous release is not increased in the sytD-E mutant. Thus, our work provides new mechanistic insight into synaptotagmin 1 function during Ca2+-evoked synaptic transmission and demonstrates that Ca2+ binding by the C2A domain of synaptotagmin 1 does not inhibit asynchronous neurotransmitter release in vivo.

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<![CDATA[The tetraspanin CD9 facilitates MERS-coronavirus entry by scaffolding host cell receptors and proteases]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/598bdfb5fa495b7488185485

Infection by enveloped coronaviruses (CoVs) initiates with viral spike (S) proteins binding to cellular receptors, and is followed by proteolytic cleavage of receptor-bound S proteins, which prompts S protein-mediated virus-cell membrane fusion. Infection therefore requires close proximity of receptors and proteases. We considered whether tetraspanins, scaffolding proteins known to facilitate CoV infections, hold receptors and proteases together on cell membranes. Using knockout cell lines, we found that the tetraspanin CD9, but not the tetraspanin CD81, formed cell-surface complexes of dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP4), the MERS-CoV receptor, and the type II transmembrane serine protease (TTSP) member TMPRSS2, a CoV-activating protease. This CD9-facilitated condensation of receptors and proteases allowed MERS-CoV pseudoviruses to enter cells rapidly and efficiently. Without CD9, MERS-CoV viruses were not activated by TTSPs, and they trafficked into endosomes to be cleaved much later and less efficiently by cathepsins. Thus, we identified DPP4:CD9:TTSP as the protein complexes necessary for early, efficient MERS-CoV entry. To evaluate the importance of these complexes in an in vivo CoV infection model, we used recombinant Adenovirus 5 (rAd5) vectors to express human DPP4 in mouse lungs, thereby sensitizing the animals to MERS-CoV infection. When the rAd5-hDPP4 vectors co-expressed small RNAs silencing Cd9 or Tmprss2, the animals were significantly less susceptible, indicating that CD9 and TMPRSS2 facilitated robust in vivo MERS-CoV infection of mouse lungs. Furthermore, the S proteins of virulent mouse-adapted MERS-CoVs acquired a CD9-dependent cell entry character, suggesting that CD9 is a selective agent in the evolution of CoV virulence.

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<![CDATA[Interferon-induced transmembrane protein 3 blocks fusion of sensitive but not resistant viruses by partitioning into virus-carrying endosomes]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c46651fd5eed0c484517878

Late endosome-resident interferon-induced transmembrane protein 3 (IFITM3) inhibits fusion of diverse viruses, including Influenza A virus (IAV), by a poorly understood mechanism. Despite the broad antiviral activity of IFITM3, viruses like Lassa virus (LASV), are fully resistant to its inhibitory effects. It is currently unclear whether resistance arises from a highly efficient fusion machinery that is capable of overcoming IFITM3 restriction or the ability to enter from cellular sites devoid of this factor. Here, we constructed and validated a functional IFITM3 tagged with EGFP or other fluorescent proteins. This breakthrough allowed live cell imaging of virus co-trafficking and fusion with endosomal compartments in cells expressing fluorescent IFITM3. Three-color single virus and endosome tracking revealed that sensitive (IAV), but not resistant (LASV), viruses become trapped within IFITM3-positive endosomes where they underwent hemifusion but failed to release their content into the cytoplasm. IAV fusion with IFITM3-containing compartments could be rescued by amphotericin B treatment, which has been previously shown to antagonize the antiviral activity of this protein. By comparison, virtually all LASV particles trafficked and fused with endosomes lacking detectable levels of fluorescent IFITM3, implying that this virus escapes restriction by utilizing endocytic pathways that are distinct from the IAV entry pathways. The importance of virus uptake and transport pathways is further reinforced by the observation that LASV glycoprotein-mediated cell-cell fusion is inhibited by IFITM3 and other members of the IFITM family expressed in target cells. Together, our results strongly support a model according to which IFITM3 accumulation at the sites of virus fusion is a prerequisite for its antiviral activity and that this protein traps viral fusion at a hemifusion stage by preventing the formation of fusion pores. We conclude that the ability to utilize alternative endocytic pathways for entry confers IFITM3-resistance to otherwise sensitive viruses.

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<![CDATA[In vivo assembly and large-scale purification of a GPCR - Gα fusion with Gβγ, and characterization of the active complex]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3e5017d5eed0c484d7d26f

G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) are central players in recognizing a variety of stimuli to mediate diverse cellular responses. This myriad of functions is accomplished by their modular interactions with downstream intracellular transducers, such as heterotrimeric G proteins and arrestins. Assembling a specific GPCR–G protein pair as a purified complex for their structural and functional investigations remains a challenging task, however, because of the low affinity of the interaction. Here, we optimized fusion constructs of the Gα subunit of the heterotrimeric G protein and engineered versions of rat Neurotensin receptor 1 (NTR1), coexpressed and assembled in vivo with Gβ and Gγ. This was achieved by using the baculovirus-based MultiBac system. We thus generated a functional receptor–G protein fusion complex, which can be efficiently purified using ligand-based affinity chromatography on large scales. Additionally, we utilized a purification method based on a designed ankyrin repeat protein tightly binding to Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP-DARPin) that may be used as a generic approach for a large-scale purification of GPCR–G protein fusion complexes for which no ligands column can be generated. The purification methods described herein will support future studies that aim to understand the structural and functional framework of GPCR activation and signaling.

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<![CDATA[Different functional states of fusion protein gB revealed on human cytomegalovirus by cryo electron tomography with Volta phase plate]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c0ed758d5eed0c484f13f87

Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) enters host by glycoprotein B (gB)-mediated membrane fusion upon receptor-binding to gH/gL-related complexes, causing devastating diseases such as birth defects. Although an X-ray crystal structure of the recombinant gB ectodomain at postfusion conformation is available, the structures of prefusion gB and its complex with gH/gL on the viral envelope remain elusive. Here, we demonstrate the utility of cryo electron tomography (cryoET) with energy filtering and the cutting-edge technologies of Volta phase plate (VPP) and direct electron-counting detection to capture metastable prefusion viral fusion proteins and report the structures of glycoproteins in the native environment of HCMV virions. We established the validity of our approach by obtaining cryoET in situ structures of the vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) glycoprotein G trimer (171 kD) in prefusion and postfusion conformations, which agree with the known crystal structures of purified G trimers in both conformations. The excellent contrast afforded by these technologies has enabled us to identify gB trimers (303kD) in two distinct conformations in HCMV tomograms and obtain their in situ structures at up to 21 Å resolution through subtomographic averaging. The predominant conformation (79%), which we designate as gB prefusion conformation, fashions a globular endodomain and a Christmas tree-shaped ectodomain, while the minority conformation (21%) has a columnar tree-shaped ectodomain that matches the crystal structure of the “postfusion” gB ectodomain. We also observed prefusion gB in complex with an “L”-shaped density attributed to the gH/gL complex. Integration of these structures of HCMV glycoproteins in multiple functional states and oligomeric forms with existing biochemical data and domain organization of other class III viral fusion proteins suggests that gH/gL receptor-binding triggers conformational changes of gB endodomain, which in turn triggers two essential steps to actuate virus-cell membrane fusion: exposure of gB fusion loops and unfurling of gB ectodomain.

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<![CDATA[Toll-like receptor 4 in acute viral infection: Too much of a good thing]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c25454ad5eed0c48442c43d ]]> <![CDATA[Acidic pH-Induced Conformations and LAMP1 Binding of the Lassa Virus Glycoprotein Spike]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da25ab0ee8fa60b80784

Lassa virus is an enveloped, bi-segmented RNA virus and the most prevalent and fatal of all Old World arenaviruses. Virus entry into the host cell is mediated by a tripartite surface spike complex, which is composed of two viral glycoprotein subunits, GP1 and GP2, and the stable signal peptide. Of these, GP1 binds to cellular receptors and GP2 catalyzes fusion between the viral envelope and the host cell membrane during endocytosis. The molecular structure of the spike and conformational rearrangements induced by low pH, prior to fusion, remain poorly understood. Here, we analyzed the three-dimensional ultrastructure of Lassa virus using electron cryotomography. Sub-tomogram averaging yielded a structure of the glycoprotein spike at 14-Å resolution. The spikes are trimeric, cover the virion envelope, and connect to the underlying matrix. Structural changes to the spike, following acidification, support a viral entry mechanism dependent on binding to the lysosome-resident receptor LAMP1 and further dissociation of the membrane-distal GP1 subunits.

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<![CDATA[Crystal Structure of Glycoprotein C from a Hantavirus in the Post-fusion Conformation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da28ab0ee8fa60b81549

Hantaviruses are important emerging human pathogens and are the causative agents of serious diseases in humans with high mortality rates. Like other members in the Bunyaviridae family their M segment encodes two glycoproteins, GN and GC, which are responsible for the early events of infection. Hantaviruses deliver their tripartite genome into the cytoplasm by fusion of the viral and endosomal membranes in response to the reduced pH of the endosome. Unlike phleboviruses (e.g. Rift valley fever virus), that have an icosahedral glycoprotein envelope, hantaviruses display a pleomorphic virion morphology as GN and GC assemble into spikes with apparent four-fold symmetry organized in a grid-like pattern on the viral membrane. Here we present the crystal structure of glycoprotein C (GC) from Puumala virus (PUUV), a representative member of the Hantavirus genus. The crystal structure shows GC as the membrane fusion effector of PUUV and it presents a class II membrane fusion protein fold. Furthermore, GC was crystallized in its post-fusion trimeric conformation that until now had been observed only in Flavi- and Togaviridae family members. The PUUV GC structure together with our functional data provides intriguing evolutionary and mechanistic insights into class II membrane fusion proteins and reveals new targets for membrane fusion inhibitors against these important pathogens.

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<![CDATA[Fusion expression of Occludin extracellular loops and an α-helical bundle: A new research model for tight junction]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db59ab0ee8fa60bdf216

Tight junctions (TJs) are the outermost structures of intercellular junctions and are highly specialized membrane domains involved in many important cellular processes. However, most TJ proteins are four-time transmembrane proteins and are difficult to express in their correct soluble form, which limits their functional study and therapeutic application. Human occludin (OCLN) is a major component of TJs and an essential co-receptor for hepatitis C virus (HCV) cell entry. To explore expression strategy for recombinant TJ proteins possessing integrated and functional extracellular loops, OCLN was here used as a model molecule, and several prokaryotic fusion constructs were designed by docking OCLN extracellular loops (ECLs) to HIV-1 gp41 NHR and CHR six-helical bundle (6HV1); then their biophysical features and anti-HCV activity were evaluated. The proteins were successfully expressed and purified in E. coli, and the double-loop constructs (D1ECL1S+D2ECL2 as a representative) were found to have more potent HCV neutralizing activity than single-loop constructs at non-cytotoxic concentrations. Circular dichroism studies indicate that D1ECL1S+D2ECL2 adopt stable α-helical folds consistent with design. Thermal denaturation assay indicated that D1ECL1S+D2ECL2 is highly stable at 80°C (melting temperature, Tm, of 89.08 ± 2.0°C) and comparable in stability to the 6HV1 scaffold. Moreover, the time-of-addition experiment revealed that D1ECL1S+D2ECL2 predominantly functioned during the early stages of HCV entry. Taken together, these findings provide a novel strategy for recombinant TJ protein expression in vitro, which may shed light on functional and structural studies for TJs and may provide a new avenue to drug development.

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<![CDATA[AFM/TIRF force clamp measurements of neurosecretory vesicle tethers reveal characteristic unfolding steps]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db50ab0ee8fa60bdc039

Although several proteins have been implicated in secretory vesicle tethering, the identity and mechanical properties of the components forming the physical vesicle-plasma membrane link remain unknown. Here we present the first experimental measurements of nanomechanical properties of secretory vesicle-plasma membrane tethers using combined AFM force clamp and TIRF microscopy on membrane sheets from PC12 cells expressing the vesicle marker ANF-eGFP. Application of pulling forces generated tether extensions composed of multiple steps with variable length. The frequency of short (<10 nm) tether extension events was markedly higher when a fluorescent vesicle was present at the cantilever tip and increased in the presence of GTPγS, indicating that these events reflect specifically the properties of vesicle-plasma membrane tethers. The magnitude of the short tether extension events is consistent with extension lengths expected from progressive unfolding of individual helices of the exocyst complex, supporting its direct role in forming the physical vesicle-plasma membrane link.

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<![CDATA[Dual-targeting of Arabidopsis DMP1 isoforms to the tonoplast and the plasma membrane]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db51ab0ee8fa60bdc2ba

The reports of dual-targeted proteins in plants have steadily increased over the past years. The vast majority of these proteins are soluble proteins distributed between compartments of the non-secretory pathway, predominantly chloroplasts and mitochondria. In contrast, dual-targeted transmembrane proteins, especially of the secretory pathway, are rare and the mechanisms leading to their differential targeting remain largely unknown. Here, we report dual-targeting of the Arabidopsis DUF679 Membrane Protein 1 (DMP1) to the tonoplast (TP) and the plasma membrane (PM). In Arabidopsis and tobacco two equally abundant DMP1 isoforms are synthesized by alternative translation initiation: a full length protein, DMP1.1, and a truncated one, DMP1.2, which lacks the N-terminal 19 amino acids including a TP-targeting dileucine motif. Accumulation of DMP1.1 and DMP1.2 in the TP and the PM, respectively, is Brefeldin A-sensitive, indicating transit via the Golgi. However, DMP1.2 interacts with DMP1.1, leading to extensive rerouting of DMP1.2 to the TP and “eclipsed” localization of DMP1.2 in the PM where it is barely visible by confocal laser scanning microscopy but clearly detectable by membrane fractionation. It is demonstrated that eGFP fusion to either DMP1 terminus can cause mistargeting artifacts: C-terminal fusion to DMP1.1 or DMP1.2 results in altered ER export and N-terminal fusion to DMP1.1 causes mistargeting to the PM, presumably by masking of the TP targeting signal. These results illustrate how the interplay of alternative translation initiation, presence or absence of targeting information and rerouting due to protein-protein interaction determines the ultimate distribution of a transmembrane protein between two membranes.

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<![CDATA[Multiple Novel Functions of Henipavirus O-glycans: The First O-glycan Functions Identified in the Paramyxovirus Family]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dad4ab0ee8fa60bb7541

O-linked glycosylation is a ubiquitous protein modification in organisms belonging to several kingdoms. Both microbial and host protein glycans are used by many pathogens for host invasion and immune evasion, yet little is known about the roles of O-glycans in viral pathogenesis. Reportedly, there is no single function attributed to O-glycans for the significant paramyxovirus family. The paramyxovirus family includes many important pathogens, such as measles, mumps, parainfluenza, metapneumo- and the deadly Henipaviruses Nipah (NiV) and Hendra (HeV) viruses. Paramyxoviral cell entry requires the coordinated actions of two viral membrane glycoproteins: the attachment (HN/H/G) and fusion (F) glycoproteins. O-glycan sites in HeV G were recently identified, facilitating use of the attachment protein of this deadly paramyxovirus as a model to study O-glycan functions. We mutated the identified HeV G O-glycosylation sites and found mutants with altered cell-cell fusion, G conformation, G/F association, viral entry in a pseudotyped viral system, and, quite unexpectedly, pseudotyped viral F protein incorporation and processing phenotypes. These are all important functions of viral glycoproteins. These phenotypes were broadly conserved for equivalent NiV mutants. Thus our results identify multiple novel and pathologically important functions of paramyxoviral O-glycans, paving the way to study O-glycan functions in other paramyxoviruses and enveloped viruses.

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<![CDATA[Antiviral Role of IFITM Proteins in African Swine Fever Virus Infection]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da5cab0ee8fa60b9029f

The interferon-induced transmembrane (IFITM) protein family is a group of antiviral restriction factors that impair flexibility and inhibit membrane fusion at the plasma or the endosomal membrane, restricting viral progression at entry. While IFITMs are widely known to inhibit several single-stranded RNA viruses, there are limited reports available regarding their effect in double-stranded DNA viruses. In this work, we have analyzed a possible antiviral function of IFITMs against a double stranded DNA virus, the African swine fever virus (ASFV). Infection with cell-adapted ASFV isolate Ba71V is IFN sensitive and it induces IFITMs expression. Interestingly, high levels of IFITMs caused a collapse of the endosomal pathway to the perinuclear area. Given that ASFV entry is strongly dependent on endocytosis, we investigated whether IFITM expression could impair viral infection. Expression of IFITM1, 2 and 3 reduced virus infectivity in Vero cells, with IFITM2 and IFITM3 having an impact on viral entry/uncoating. The role of IFITM2 in the inhibition of ASFV in Vero cells could be related to impaired endocytosis-mediated viral entry and alterations in the cholesterol efflux, suggesting that IFITM2 is acting at the late endosome, preventing the decapsidation stage of ASFV.

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<![CDATA[The chicken embryo as an efficient model to test the function of muscle fusion genes in amniotes]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5cab0ee8fa60bdfded

The fusion of myoblasts into multinucleated myotubes is a crucial step of muscle growth during development and of muscle repair in the adult. While multiple genes were shown to play a role in this process, a vertebrate model where novel candidates can be tested and analyzed at high throughput and relative ease has been lacking. Here, we show that the early chicken embryo is a fast and robust model in which functional testing of muscle fusion candidate genes can be performed. We have used known modulators of muscle fusion, Rac1 and Cdc42, along with the in vivo electroporation of integrated, inducible vectors, to show that the chicken embryo is a suitable model in which their function can be tested and quantified. In addition to nuclei content, specific characteristics of the experimental model allow a fine characterization of additional morphological features that are nearly impossible to assess in other model organisms. This study should establish the chicken embryo as a cheap, reliable and powerful model in which novel vertebrate muscle fusion candidates can be evaluated.

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<![CDATA[VAMP3/Syb and YKT6 are required for the fusion of constitutive secretory carriers with the plasma membrane]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5aab0ee8fa60bdf3b1

The cellular machinery required for the fusion of constitutive secretory vesicles with the plasma membrane in metazoans remains poorly defined. To address this problem we have developed a powerful, quantitative assay for measuring secretion and used it in combination with combinatorial gene depletion studies in Drosophila cells. This has allowed us to identify at least three SNARE complexes mediating Golgi to PM transport (STX1, SNAP24/29 and Syb; STX1, SNAP24/29 and YKT6; STX4, SNAP24 and Syb). RNAi mediated depletion of YKT6 and VAMP3 in mammalian cells also blocks constitutive secretion suggesting that YKT6 has an evolutionarily conserved role in this process. The unexpected role of YKT6 in plasma membrane fusion may in part explain why RNAi and gene disruption studies have failed to produce the expected phenotypes in higher eukaryotes.

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<![CDATA[Identification of CkSNAP33, a gene encoding synaptosomal-associated protein from Cynanchum komarovii, that enhances Arabidopsis resistance to Verticillium dahliae]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5cab0ee8fa60be02e7

SNARE proteins are essential to vesicle trafficking and membrane fusion in eukaryotic cells. In addition, the SNARE-mediated secretory pathway can deliver diverse defense products to infection sites during exocytosis-associated immune responses in plants. In this study, a novel gene (CkSNAP33) encoding a synaptosomal-associated protein was isolated from Cynanchum komarovii and characterized. CkSNAP33 contains Qb- and Qc-SNARE domains in the N- and C-terminal regions, respectively, and shares high sequence identity with AtSNAP33 from Arabidopsis. CkSNAP33 expression was induced by H2O2, salicylic acid (SA), Verticillium dahliae, and wounding. Arabidopsis lines overexpressing CkSNAP33 had longer primary roots and larger seedlings than the wild type (WT). Transgenic Arabidopsis lines showed significantly enhanced resistance to V. dahliae, and displayed reductions in disease index and fungal biomass, and also showed elevated expression of PR1 and PR5. The leaves of transgenic plants infected with V. dahliae showed strong callose deposition and cell death that hindered the penetration and spread of the fungus at the infection site. Taken together, these results suggest that CkSNAP33 is involved in the defense response against V. dahliae and enhanced disease resistance in Arabidopsis.

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<![CDATA[Insights into the Conformation of the Membrane Proximal Regions Critical to the Trimerization of the HIV-1 gp41 Ectodomain Bound to Dodecyl Phosphocholine Micelles]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9d4ab0ee8fa60b656a8

The transitioning of the ectodomain of gp41 from a pre-hairpin to a six-helix bundle conformation is a crucial aspect of virus-cell fusion. To gain insight into the intermediary steps of the fusion process we have studied the pH and dodecyl phosphocholine (DPC) micelle dependent trimer association of gp41 by systematic deletion analysis of an optimized construct termed 17–172 (residues 528 to 683 of Env) that spans the fusion peptide proximal region (FPPR) to the membrane proximal external region (MPER) of gp41, by sedimentation velocity and double electron-electron resonance (DEER) EPR spectroscopy. Trimerization at pH 7 requires the presence of both the FPPR and MPER regions. However, at pH 4, the protein completely dissociates to monomers. DEER measurements reveal a partial fraying of the C-terminal MPER residues in the 17–172 trimer while the other regions, including the FPPR, remain compact. In accordance, truncating nine C-terminal MPER residues (675–683) in the 17–172 construct does not shift the trimer-monomer equilibrium significantly. Thus, in the context of the gp41 ectodomain spanning residues 17–172, trimerization is clearly dependent on FPPR and MPER regions even when the terminal residues of MPER unravel. The antibody Z13e1, which spans both the 2F5 and 4E10 epitopes in MPER, binds to 17–172 with a Kd of 1 ± 0.12 μM. Accordingly, individual antibodies 2F5 and 4E10 also recognize the 17–172 trimer/DPC complex. We propose that binding of the C-terminal residues of MPER to the surface of the DPC micelles models a correct positioning of the trimeric transmembrane domain anchored in the viral membrane.

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<![CDATA[They Might Be Giants: Does Syncytium Formation Sink or Spread HIV Infection?]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db54ab0ee8fa60bdd0d5 ]]> <![CDATA[Visualization of Content Release from Cell Surface-Attached Single HIV-1 Particles Carrying an Extra-Viral Fluorescent pH-Sensor]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da6aab0ee8fa60b92c74

HIV-1 fusion leading to productive entry has long been thought to occur at the plasma membrane. However, our previous single virus imaging data imply that, after Env engagement of CD4 and coreceptors at the cell surface, the virus enters into and fuses with intracellular compartments. We were unable to reliably detect viral fusion at the plasma membrane. Here, we implement a novel virus labeling strategy that biases towards detection of virus fusion that occurs in a pH-neutral environment—at the plasma membrane or, possibly, in early pH-neutral vesicles. Virus particles are co-labeled with an intra-viral content marker, which is released upon fusion, and an extra-viral pH sensor consisting of ecliptic pHluorin fused to the transmembrane domain of ICAM-1. This sensor fully quenches upon virus trafficking to a mildly acidic compartment, thus precluding subsequent detection of viral content release. As an interesting secondary observation, the incorporation of the pH-sensor revealed that HIV-1 particles occasionally shuttle between neutral and acidic compartments in target cells expressing CD4, suggesting a small fraction of viral particles is recycled to the plasma membrane and re-internalized. By imaging viruses bound to living cells, we found that HIV-1 content release in neutral-pH environment was a rare event (~0.4% particles). Surprisingly, viral content release was not significantly reduced by fusion inhibitors, implying that content release was due to spontaneous formation of viral membrane defects occurring at the cell surface. We did not measure a significant occurrence of HIV-1 fusion at neutral pH above this defect-mediated background loss of content, suggesting that the pH sensor may destabilize the membrane of the HIV-1 pseudovirus and, thus, preclude reliable detection of single virus fusion events at neutral pH.

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<![CDATA[Potent and Broad Inhibition of HIV-1 by a Peptide from the gp41 Heptad Repeat-2 Domain Conjugated to the CXCR4 Amino Terminus]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dad2ab0ee8fa60bb6a44

HIV-1 entry can be inhibited by soluble peptides from the gp41 heptad repeat-2 (HR2) domain that interfere with formation of the 6-helix bundle during fusion. Inhibition has also been seen when these peptides are conjugated to anchoring molecules and over-expressed on the cell surface. We hypothesized that potent anti-HIV activity could be achieved if a 34 amino acid peptide from HR2 (C34) were brought to the site of virus-cell interactions by conjugation to the amino termini of HIV-1 coreceptors CCR5 or CXCR4. C34-conjugated coreceptors were expressed on the surface of T cell lines and primary CD4 T cells, retained the ability to mediate chemotaxis in response to cognate chemokines, and were highly resistant to HIV-1 utilization for entry. Notably, C34-conjugated CCR5 and CXCR4 each exhibited potent and broad inhibition of HIV-1 isolates from diverse clades irrespective of tropism (i.e., each could inhibit R5, X4 and dual-tropic isolates). This inhibition was highly specific and dependent on positioning of the peptide, as HIV-1 infection was poorly inhibited when C34 was conjugated to the amino terminus of CD4. C34-conjugated coreceptors could also inhibit HIV-1 isolates that were resistant to the soluble HR2 peptide inhibitor, enfuvirtide. When introduced into primary cells, CD4 T cells expressing C34-conjugated coreceptors exhibited physiologic responses to T cell activation while inhibiting diverse HIV-1 isolates, and cells containing C34-conjugated CXCR4 expanded during HIV-1 infection in vitro and in a humanized mouse model. Notably, the C34-conjugated peptide exerted greater HIV-1 inhibition when conjugated to CXCR4 than to CCR5. Thus, antiviral effects of HR2 peptides can be specifically directed to the site of viral entry where they provide potent and broad inhibition of HIV-1. This approach to engineer HIV-1 resistance in functional CD4 T cells may provide a novel cell-based therapeutic for controlling HIV infection in humans.

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