Interaction of HIV-1 Nef with the Host Protein Alix Promotes Lysosomal Targeting of CD4 Receptor [Microbiology]

August 12th, 2014 by Amorim, N. A., da Silva, E. M. L., de Castro, R. O., da Silva–Januario, M. E., Mendonca, L. M., Bonifacino, J. S., da Costa, L. J., daSilva, L. L. P.

Nef is an accessory protein of human immunodeficiency viruses that promotes viral replication and progression to AIDS through interference with various host trafficking and signaling pathways. A key function of Nef is the downregulation of the co-receptor CD4 from the surface of the host cells. Nef-induced CD4 downregulation involves at least two independent steps: acceleration of CD4 endocytosis by a clathrin/AP-2-dependent pathway and targeting of internalized CD4 to multivesicular bodies (MVBs) for eventual degradation in lysosomes. In previous work, we found that CD4 targeting to the MVB pathway was independent of CD4 ubiquitination. Herein we report that this targeting depends on a direct interaction of Nef with Alix/AIP1, a protein associated with the Endosomal Sorting Complexes Required for Transport (ESCRT) machinery that assists with cargo recruitment and intraluminal vesicle formation in MVBs. We show that Nef interacts with both the Bro1 and V domains of Alix. Depletion of Alix or overexpression of the Alix V domain impairs lysosomal degradation of CD4 induced by Nef. In contrast, V-domain overexpression does not prevent cell surface removal of CD4 by Nef or protein targeting to the canonical, ubiquitination-dependent MVB pathway. We also show that the Nef-Alix interaction occurs in late endosomes that are enriched in internalized CD4. Together, our results indicate that Alix functions as an adaptor for the ESCRT-dependent, ubiquitin-independent targeting of CD4 to the MVB pathway induced by Nef.