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Immature HIV-1 Lattice Assembly Dynamics are Regulated by Scaffolding from Nucleic Acid and the Plasma Membrane

By Alexander J. Pak, John M A Grime, Prabuddha Sengupta, Antony K. Chen, Aleksander Durumeric, Anand Srivastava, Mark Yeager, John A. G. Briggs, Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz, Gregory A Voth

Posted 13 Jul 2017
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/163295 (published DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1706600114)

The packaging and budding of Gag polyprotein and viral ribonucleic acid (RNA) is a critical step in the human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) lifecycle. High-resolution structures of the Gag polyprotein have revealed that the capsid (CA) and spacer peptide 1 (SP1) domains contain important interfaces for Gag self-assembly. However, the molecular details of the multimerization process, especially in the presence of RNA and the cell membrane, have remained unclear. In this work, we investigate the mechanisms that work in concert between the polyproteins, RNA, and membrane to promote immature lattice growth. We develop a coarse-grained (CG) computational model that is derived from sub-nanometer resolution structural data. Our simulations recapitulate contiguous and hexameric lattice assembly driven only by weak anisotropic attractions at the helical CA-SP1 junction. Importantly, analysis from CG and single-particle tracking photoactivated localization (spt-PALM) trajectories indicates that viral RNA and the membrane are critical constituents that actively promote Gag multimerization through scaffolding, while over-expression of short competitor RNA can suppress assembly. We also find that the CA amino-terminal domain imparts intrinsic curvature to the Gag lattice. As a consequence, immature lattice growth appears to be coupled to the dynamics of spontaneous membrane deformation. Our findings elucidate a simple network of interactions that regulate the early stages of HIV-1 assembly and budding.

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