Trimers of the HIV-1 envelope (Env) protein perform receptor binding and virus-cell fusion functions during the virus life cycle. The cytoplasmic tail (CT) of Env forms an unusual baseplate structure, and is palmitoylated, rich in arginines, carries trafficking motifs, binds cholesterol, and interacts with host proteins. To dissect CT activities, we examined a panel of Env variants, including CT truncations, mutations, and an extension. We found that whereas all variants could replicate in permissive cells, viruses with CT truncations or baseplate mutations were defective in restrictive cells. We also identified a determinant in HIV-1 amphotericin sensitivity, and characterized variants that escape amphotericin inhibition via viral protease-mediated CT cleavage. Results additionally showed that full-length, his tagged Env can oligomerize and be co-assembled with CT truncations that delete portions of the baseplate, host protein binding sites, and trafficking signals. Our observations illuminate novel aspects of HIV-1 CT structure, interactions, and functions.
- Cytoplasmic tail
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