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HIV-1 Gag specifically restricts PI(4,5)P2 and cholesterol mobility in living cells creating a nanodomain platform for virus assembly.
HIV-1 Gag protein self-assembles at the plasma membrane of infected cells for viral particle formation. Gag targets lipids, mainly the phosphatidylinositol (4,5) bisphosphate, at the inner leaflet of this membrane. Here, we address the question whether Gag is able to trap specifically PI(4,5)P2 or other lipids during HIV-1 assembly in the host CD4+ T lymphocytes. Lipid dynamics within and away from HIV-1 assembly sites was determined using super-resolution STED microscopy coupled with scanning Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy in living T cells. Analysis of HIV-1 infected cells revealed that, upon assembly, HIV-1 is able to specifically trap PI(4,5)P2, and cholesterol, but not phosphatidylethanolamine or sphingomyelin. Furthermore, our data show that Gag is the main driving force to restrict PI(4,5)P2 and cholesterol mobility at the cell plasma membrane. This is first direct evidence showing that HIV-1 creates its own specific lipid environment by selectively recruiting PI(4,5)P2 and cholesterol, as a membrane nano-platform for virus assembly.
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