HIV-1 Gag co-opts a cellular complex containing DDX6, a helicase that facilitates capsid assembly.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


The Journal of cell biology, Volume 198, Issue 3, p.439-56 (2012)


2012, Animals, Argonaute Proteins, ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters, capsid, Cell Membrane, Center-Authored Paper, Cercopithecus aethiops, Clinical Research Division, Consortium Authored Paper, COS Cells, DEAD-box RNA Helicases, Electron Microscopy Core Facility, Gene Products, gag, HIV-1, Humans, Microscopy, Immunoelectron, Mutation, Proto-Oncogene Proteins, Shared Resources, T-Lymphocytes


To produce progeny virus, human immunodeficiency virus type I (HIV-1) Gag assembles into capsids that package the viral genome and bud from the infected cell. During assembly of immature capsids, Gag traffics through a pathway of assembly intermediates (AIs) that contain the cellular adenosine triphosphatase ABCE1 (ATP-binding cassette protein E1). In this paper, we showed by coimmunoprecipitation and immunoelectron microscopy (IEM) that these Gag-containing AIs also contain endogenous processing body (PB)-related proteins, including AGO2 and the ribonucleic acid (RNA) helicase DDX6. Moreover, we found a similar complex containing ABCE1 and PB proteins in uninfected cells. Additionally, knockdown and rescue studies demonstrated that the RNA helicase DDX6 acts enzymatically to facilitate capsid assembly independent of RNA packaging. Using IEM, we localized the defect in DDX6-depleted cells to Gag multimerization at the plasma membrane. We also confirmed that DDX6 depletion reduces production of infectious HIV-1 from primary human T cells. Thus, we propose that assembling HIV-1 co-opts a preexisting host complex containing cellular facilitators such as DDX6, which the virus uses to catalyze capsid assembly.