The matrix (MA) domain of the HIV-1 precursor Gag protein (PrGag) has been shown interact with the HIV-1 envelope (Env) protein, and to direct PrGag proteins to plasma membrane (PM) assembly sites by virtue of its affinity to phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate (PI[4,5]P2). Unexpectedly, HIV-1 viruses with large MA deletions (ΔMA) have been shown to be conditionally infectious as long as they are matched with Env truncation mutant proteins or alternative viral glycoproteins. To characterize the interactions of wild type (WT) and ΔMA Gag proteins with PI(4,5)P2 and other acidic phospholipids, we have employed a set of lipid biosensors as probes. Our investigations showed marked differences in WT and ΔMA Gag colocalization with biosensors, effects on biosensor release, and association of biosensors with virus-like particles. These results demonstrate an alternative approach to the analysis of viral protein-lipid associations, and provide new data as to the lipid compositions of HIV-1 assembly sites.
- Lipid biosensors
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