HIV-1 Vpr oligomerization but not that of gag directs the interaction between Vpr and Gag

Joëlle V. Fritz, Denis Dujardin, Julien Godet, Pascal Didier, Jan De Mey, Jean Luc Darlix, Yves Mély, Hugues De Rocquigny*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


During HIV-1 assembly, the viral protein R (Vpr) is incorporated into newly made viral particles via an interaction with the C-terminal domain of the Gag polyprotein precursor Pr55Gag. Vpr has been implicated in the nuclear import of newly made viral DNA and subsequently in its transcription. In addition, Vpr can affect the cell physiology by causing G2/M cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. Vpr can form oligomers, but their roles have not yet been investigated. We have developed fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy-fluorescence resonance energy transfer-based assays to monitor the interaction between Pr55Gag and Vpr in HeLa cells. To that end, we used enhanced green fluorescent protein-Vpr that can be incorporated into the virus and tetracysteine (TC)-tagged Pr55Gag-TC. This TC motif is tethered to the C terminus of Pr55Gag and does not interfere with Pr55Gag trafficking and the assembly of virus-like particles (VLPs). Results show that the Pr55Gag-Vpr complexes accumulated mainly at the plasma membrane. In addition, results with Pr55Gag-TC mutants confirm that the 41LXXLF domain of Gag-p6 is essential for Pr55 Gag-Vpr interaction. We also report that Vpr oligomerization is crucial for Pr55Gag recognition and its accumulation at the plasma membrane. On the other hand, Pr55Gag-Vpr complexes are still formed when Pr55Gag carries mutations impairing its multimerization. These findings suggest that Pr55Gag-Vpr recognition and complex formation occur early during Pr55Gag assembly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1585-1596
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2010
Externally publishedYes


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