Author(s): Arora S, Verma S, Banerjea AC
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Abstract HIV-1 modulates key host cellular pathways for successful replication and pathogenesis through viral proteins. By evaluating the hijacking of the host ubiquitination pathway by HIV-1 at the whole-cell level, we now show major perturbations in the ubiquitinated pool of the host proteins post-HIV-1 infection. Our overexpression- and infection-based studies of T cells with wild-type and mutant HIV-1 proviral constructs showed that Vpr is necessary and sufficient for reducing whole-cell ubiquitination. Mutagenic analysis revealed that the three leucine-rich helical regions of Vpr are critical for this novel function of Vpr, which was independent of its other known cellular functions. We also validated that this effect of Vpr was conserved among different subtypes (subtypes B and C) and circulating recombinants from Northern India. Finally, we establish that this phenomenon is involved in HIV-1-mediated diversion of host ubiquitination machinery specifically toward the degradation of various restriction factors during viral pathogenesis. IMPORTANCE: HIV-1 is known to rely heavily on modulation of the host ubiquitin pathway, particularly for counteraction of antiretroviral restriction factors, i.e., APOBEC3G, UNG2, and BST-2, etc.; viral assembly; and release. Reports to date have focused on the molecular hijacking of the ubiquitin machinery by HIV-1 at the level of E3 ligases. Interaction of a viral protein with an E3 ligase alters its specificity to bring about selective protein ubiquitination. However, in the case of infection, multiple viral proteins can interact with this multienzyme pathway at various levels, making it much more complicated. Here, we have addressed the manipulation of ubiquitination at the whole-cell level post-HIV-1 infection. Our results show that HIV-1 Vpr is necessary and sufficient to bring about the redirection of the host ubiquitin pathway toward HIV-1-specific outcomes. We also show that the three leucine-rich helical regions of Vpr are critical for this effect and that this ability of Vpr is conserved across circulating recombinants. Our work, the first of its kind, provides novel insight into the regulation of the ubiquitin system at the whole-cell level by HIV-1. Copyright © 2014, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.
This article was published in J Virol
and referenced in Virology & Mycology