Journal of virology

Analysis of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 matrix binding to membranes and nucleic acids.

PMID 19776118


The human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) matrix (MA) protein targets HIV-1 precursor Gag (PrGag) proteins to assembly sites at plasma membrane (PM) sites that are enriched in cholesterol and phosphatidylinositol-(4,5)-bisphosphate [PI(4,5)P(2)]. MA is myristoylated, which enhances membrane binding, and specifically binds PI(4,5)P(2) through headgroup and 2' acyl chain contacts. MA also binds nucleic acids, although the significance of this association with regard to the viral life cycle is unclear. We have devised a novel MA binding assay and used it to examine MA interactions with membranes and nucleic acids. Our results indicate that cholesterol increases the selectivity of MA for PI(4,5)P(2)-containing membranes, that PI(4,5)P(2) binding tolerates 2' acyl chain variation, and that the MA myristate enhances membrane binding efficiency but not selectivity. We also observed that soluble PI(4,5)P(2) analogues do not compete effectively with PI(4,5)P(2)-containing liposomes for MA binding but surprisingly do increase nonspecific binding to liposomes. Finally, we have demonstrated that PI(4,5)P(2)-containing liposomes successfully outcompete nucleic acids for MA binding, whereas other liposomes do not. These results support a model in which RNA binding protects MA from associating with inappropriate cellular membranes prior to PrGag delivery to PM assembly sites.