Human immunodeficiency virus types 1 and 2 and simian immunodeficiency virus Nef use distinct but overlapping target sites for downregulation of cell surface CD4.
Although the Nef proteins encoded by human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and simian immuno-deficiency virus (SIV) are known to induce the efficient internalization and degradation of cell surface CD4, it remains unclear whether this process involves a direct interaction between Nef and CD4. Here, we report that CD4 downregulation by HIV-1 and SIV Nef requires distinct but overlapping target sites within the CD4 intracytoplasmic domain. In particular, mutation of a glutamic acid residue located at CD4 residue 405 or of arginine and methionine residues located, respectively, at residue 406 and 407 results in a mutant CD4 protein that is efficiently downregulated by HIV-1 Nef but refractory to downregulation by SIV Nef. However, both HIV-1 and SIV Nef require an isoleucine located at residue 410 and the dileucine motif found at CD4 residues 413 and 414. CD4 downregulation induced by the Nef protein encoded by HIV-2 is shown to require a CD4 target sequence that is similar to, but distinct from, that observed with SIV Nef. These data explain the previous finding that the murine CD4 protein, which has an alanine at residue 405, is refractory to downregulation by SIV, but not HIV-1, Nef (J. L. Foster, S.J. Anderson, A. L. B. Frazier, and J. V. Garcia, Virology 201:373-379, 1994). In addition, these observations provide strong genetic support for the hypothesis that the Nef-mediated downregulation of cell surface CD4 requires a direct Nef-CD4 interaction.
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