Coassembly and complementation of Gag proteins from HIV-1 and HIV-2, two distinct human pathogens

Mol Cell. 2006 Jul 21;23(2):281-7. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2006.05.028.


Approximately one million people in the world are dually infected with both HIV-1 and HIV-2. To identify potential interactions between these two human pathogens, we examined whether HIV-1 and HIV-2 Gag proteins can coassemble and functionally complement each other. We generated HIV-1- and HIV-2-based vectors with mutations in Gag; compared with wild-type vectors, these mutants had drastically decreased viral titers. Coexpression of the mutant HIV-1 and HIV-2 Gag could generate infectious viruses; furthermore, heterologous complementation in certain combinations showed efficiency similar to homologous complementation. Additionally, we used bimolecular fluorescence complementation analysis to directly demonstrate that HIV-1 and HIV-2 Gag can interact and coassemble. Taken together, our results indicate that HIV-1 and HIV-2 Gag polyproteins can coassemble and functionally complement each other during virus replication; to our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of its kind. These studies have important implications for AIDS treatment and the evolution of primate lentiviruses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Gene Products, gag / biosynthesis*
  • Gene Products, gag / genetics*
  • Genetic Complementation Test
  • HIV-1 / genetics*
  • HIV-1 / metabolism*
  • HIV-2 / genetics*
  • HIV-2 / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Virus Replication / genetics


  • Gene Products, gag