Sequence Determinants in Gammaretroviral Env Cytoplasmic Tails Dictate Virus-Specific Pseudotyping Compatibility.

Affiliation

Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri, USA [Email]

Abstract

Viruses can incorporate foreign glycoproteins to form infectious particles through a process known as pseudotyping. However, not all glycoproteins are compatible with all viruses. Despite the fact that viral pseudotyping is widely used, what makes a virus/glycoprotein pair compatible is poorly understood. To study this, we chose to analyze a gammaretroviral glycoprotein (Env) whose compatibility with different viruses could be modulated through small changes in its cytoplasmic tail (CT). One form of this glycoprotein is compatible with murine leukemia virus (MLV) particles but incompatible with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) particles, while the second is compatible with HIV-1 particles but not with MLV particles. To decipher the factors affecting virus-specific Env incompatibility, we characterized Env incorporation, maturation, cell-to-cell fusogenicity, and virus-to-cell fusogenicity of each Env. The HIV-1 particle incompatibility correlated with less efficient cleavage of the R peptide by HIV-1 protease. However, the MLV particle incompatibility was more nuanced. MLV incompatibility appeared to be caused by lack of incorporation into particles, yet incorporation could be restored by further truncating the CT or by using a chimeric MLV Gag protein containing the HIV-1 MA without fully restoring infectivity. The MLV particle incompatibility appeared to be caused in part by fusogenic repression in MLV particles through an unknown mechanism. This study demonstrates that the Env CT can dictate functionality of Env within particles in a virus-specific manner.IMPORTANCE Viruses utilize viral glycoproteins to efficiently enter target cells during infection. How viruses acquire viral glycoproteins has been studied to understand the pathogenesis of viruses and develop safer and more efficient viral vectors for gene therapies. The CTs of viral glycoproteins have been shown to regulate various stages of glycoprotein biogenesis, but a gap still remains in understanding the molecular mechanism of glycoprotein acquisition and functionality regarding the CT. Here, we studied the mechanism of how specific mutations in the CT of a gammaretroviral envelope glycoprotein distinctly affect infectivity of two different viruses. Different mutations caused failure of glycoproteins to function in a virus-specific manner due to distinct fusion defects, suggesting that there are virus-specific characteristics affecting glycoprotein functionality.

Keywords

Env incorporation,HIV-1,MLV,R peptide,assembly,cytoplasmic tail,fusogenicity,glycoprotein,retrovirus,

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