Based on structural information, we have analyzed the mechanism of mature HIV-1 core assembly and the contributions of structural elements to the assembly process. Through the use of several in vitro assembly assay systems, we have examined details of how capsid (CA) protein helix 1, ß-hairpin and cyclophilin loop elements impact assembly-dependent protein interactions, and we present evidence for a contribution of CA helix 6 to the mature assembly-competent conformation of CA. Additional experiments with mixtures of proteins in assembly reactions provide novel analyses of the mature core assembly mechanism. Our results support a model in which initial assembly products serve as scaffolds for further assembly by converting incoming subunits to assembly proficient conformations, while mutant subunits increase the probability of assembly termination events.
- Core assembly
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