Lysine 144, a ubiquitin attachment site in HIV-1 nef, is required for NEF-mediated CD4 down-regulation

Yong Jiu Jin, Catherine Yi Cai, Xiaoping Zhang, Steven J. Burakoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Nef is a HIV-1 accessory protein critical for the replication of the virus and the development of AIDS. The major pathological activity of Nef is the down-regulation of CD4, the primary receptor of HIV-1 infection. The mechanism underlying Nef-mediated CD4 endocytosis and degradation remains incompletely understood. Since protein ubiquitination is the predominant sorting signal in receptor endocytosis, we investigated whether Nef is ubiquitinated. The in vivo ubiquitination assay showed that both HIV-1 and SIV Nef proteins expressed in Jurkat T cells and 293T cells were multiple ubiquitinated by ubiquitin-His. The lysine-free HIV-1 Nef mutant (δ10K) generated by replacing all 10 lysines with arginines was not ubiquitinated and the major ubiquitin-His attachment sites in HIV-1 Nef were determined to be lysine 144 (di-ubiquitinated) and lysine 204 (mono-ubiquitinated). Lysine-free HIV-1 Nef was completely inactive in Nef-mediated CD4 down-regulation, so was the Nef mutant with a single arginine substitution at K144 but not at K204. A mutant HIV-1 provirion NL4-3 with a single arginine substitution in Nef at K144 was also inactive in Nef-mediated CD4 down-regulation. Lysine-free Nef mutant reintroduced with lysine 144 (AK10 + K144) was shown active in CD4 down-regulation. These data suggest that ubiquitination of Nef, particularly diubiquitination of the lysine 144, is necessary for Nef-mediated CD4 down-regulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7878-7886
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Lysine 144, a ubiquitin attachment site in HIV-1 nef, is required for NEF-mediated CD4 down-regulation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this