HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) diverts the cellular ESCRT (endosomal sorting complex required for transport) machinery to promote virion release from infected cells. The ESCRT consists of four heteromeric complexes (ESCRT-0 to ESCRT-III), which mediate different membrane abscission processes, most importantly formation of intralumenal vesicles at multivesicular bodies. The ATPase VPS4 (vacuolar protein sorting 4) acts at a late stage of ESCRT function, providing energy for ESCRT dissociation. Recruitment of ESCRT by late-domain motifs in the viral Gag polyprotein and a role of ESCRT in HIV release are firmly established, but the order of events, their kinetics and the mechanism of action of individual ESCRT components in HIV budding are unclear at present. Using live-cell imaging, we show late-domain-dependent recruitment of VPS4A to nascent HIV particles at the host cell plasma membrane. Recruitment of VPS4A was transient, resulting in a single or a few bursts of at least two to five VPS4 dodecamers assembling at HIV budding sites. Bursts lasted for ∼35 s and appeared with variable delay before particle release. These results indicate that VPS4A has a direct role in membrane scission leading to HIV-1 release.
© 2011 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved