Mechanisms of human immunodeficiency virus type 2 RNA packaging: efficient trans packaging and selection of RNA copackaging partners

Na Ni, Olga A Nikolaitchik, Kari A Dilley, Jianbo Chen, Andrea Galli, William Fu, V V S P Prasad, Roger G Ptak, Vinay K Pathak, Wei-Shau Hu

22 Citationer (Scopus)
161 Downloads (Pure)


Human immunodeficiency virus type 2 (HIV-2) has been reported to have a distinct RNA packaging mechanism, referred to as cis packaging, in which Gag proteins package the RNA from which they were translated. We examined the progeny generated from dually infected cell lines that contain two HIV-2 proviruses, one with a wild-type gag/gag-pol and the other with a mutant gag that cannot express functional Gag/Gag-Pol. Viral titers and RNA analyses revealed that mutant viral RNAs can be packaged at efficiencies comparable to that of viral RNA from which wild-type Gag/Gag-Pol is translated. These results do not support the cis-packaging hypothesis but instead indicate that trans packaging is the major mechanism of HIV-2 RNA packaging. To further characterize the mechanisms of HIV-2 RNA packaging, we visualized HIV-2 RNA in individual particles by using fluorescent protein-tagged RNA-binding proteins that specifically recognize stem-loop motifs in the viral genomes, an assay termed single virion analysis. These studies revealed that >90% of the HIV-2 particles contained viral RNAs and that RNAs derived from different viruses were copackaged frequently. Furthermore, the frequencies of heterozygous particles in the viral population could be altered by changing a 6-nucleotide palindromic sequence at the 5'-untranslated region of the HIV-2 genome. This finding indicates that selection of copackaging RNA partners occurs prior to encapsidation and that HIV-2 Gag proteins primarily package one dimeric RNA rather than two monomeric RNAs. Additionally, single virion analyses demonstrated a similar RNA distribution in viral particles regardless of whether both viruses had a functional gag or one of the viruses had a nonfunctional gag, providing further support for the trans-packaging hypothesis. Together, these results revealed mechanisms of HIV-2 RNA packaging that are, contrary to previous studies, in many respects surprisingly similar to those of HIV-1.
TidsskriftJournal of Virology
Udgave nummer15
Sider (fra-til)7603-12
Antal sider10
StatusUdgivet - 2011


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