A report in the March 2007 issue of Nature Structural & Molecular Biology reveals how some viruses, such as HIV-1, must assemble and release themselves from infected host cells before invading neighboring, uninfected cells.
The host protein Alix is known for its role in sorting proteins into their proper intracellular compartments, but it is also used by a region of HIV-1 Gag protein, called p6, to promote release of viral particles from virus-infected cells. James Hurley and colleagues have used X-ray crystallography and site-directed mutagenesis to identify residues in Alix important for p6 binding, and therefore essential for virus release. This new data gives us information on what regions of host proteins are important for viruses like HIV-1 to move from cell to cell, which we may be able to use to turn against the viruses to reduce the spread of infection.
James Hurley (NIDDK, NIH, Bethesda, MD, USA)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature Structural & Molecular Biology press release.
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza