Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) replication requires coordinated activities of host and viral factors. We reported previously that interactions of the host factor cyclophilin A with HIV-1 Gag polyproteins affected Gag processing and maturation of virus particles (Streblow et al., 1998. Virology 245, 197-202). We now use in vitro translation and physical analysis of Gag structures to refine our understanding of how cyclophilin A affects HIV-1 replication. Gag assembled into oligomeric structures in vitro in the presence or absence of cyclophilin A, and proteins synthesized under the two conditions were equally susceptible to cleavage by exogenous HIV-1 protease. These and previous data show that Cyclophilin A is required at a step between Gag assembly and Gag processing/virion morphogenesis. Cyclophilin A may be required for Gag conformational changes subsequent to assembly, that are required for efficient dimerization and activation of the viral protease.
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