A functional interplay between human immunodeficiency virus type 1 protease residues 77 and 93 involved in differential regulation of precursor autoprocessing and mature protease activity

Christopher J. Counts, P. Shing Ho, Maureen J. Donlin, John E. Tavis, Chaoping Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

HIV-1 protease (PR) is a viral enzyme vital to the production of infectious virions. It is initially synthesized as part of the Gag-Pol polyprotein precursor in the infected cell. The free mature PR is liberated as a result of precursor autoprocessing upon virion release. We previously described a model system to examine autoprocessing in transfected mammalian cells. Here, we report that a covariance analysis of miniprecursor (p6∗-PR) sequences derived from drug naï ve patients identified a series of amino acid pairs that vary together across independent viral isolates. These covariance pairs were used to build the first topology map of the miniprecursor that suggests high levels of interaction between the p6∗ peptide and the mature PR. Additionally, several PR-PR covariance pairs are located far from each other (>12 Å Cα to Cα) relative to their positions in the mature PR structure. Biochemical characterization of one such covariance pair (77-93) revealed that each residue shows distinct preference for one of three alkyl amino acids (V, I, and L) and that a polar or charged amino acid at either of these two positions abolishes precursor autoprocessing. The most commonly observed 77V is preferred by the most commonly observed 93I, but the 77I variant is preferred by other 93 variances (L, V, or M) in supporting precursor autoprocessing. Furthermore, the 77I93V covariant enhanced precursor autoprocessing and Gag polyprotein processing but decreased the mature PR activity. Therefore, both covariance and biochemical analyses support a functional association between residues 77 and 93, which are spatially distant from each other in the mature PR structure. Our data also suggests that these covariance pairs differentially regulate precursor autoprocessing and the mature protease activity.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0123561
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume10
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 20 Apr 2015
Externally publishedYes

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