Nucleoporin NUP153 phenylalanine-glycine motifs engage a common binding pocket within the HIV-1 capsid protein to mediate lentiviral infectivity

PLoS Pathog. 2013;9(10):e1003693. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1003693. Epub 2013 Oct 10.


Lentiviruses can infect non-dividing cells, and various cellular transport proteins provide crucial functions for lentiviral nuclear entry and integration. We previously showed that the viral capsid (CA) protein mediated the dependency on cellular nucleoporin (NUP) 153 during HIV-1 infection, and now demonstrate a direct interaction between the CA N-terminal domain and the phenylalanine-glycine (FG)-repeat enriched NUP153 C-terminal domain (NUP153(C)). NUP153(C) fused to the effector domains of the rhesus Trim5α restriction factor (Trim-NUP153(C)) potently restricted HIV-1, providing an intracellular readout for the NUP153(C)-CA interaction during retroviral infection. Primate lentiviruses and equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV) bound NUP153(C) under these conditions, results that correlated with direct binding between purified proteins in vitro. These binding phenotypes moreover correlated with the requirement for endogenous NUP153 protein during virus infection. Mutagenesis experiments concordantly identified NUP153(C) and CA residues important for binding and lentiviral infectivity. Different FG motifs within NUP153(C) mediated binding to HIV-1 versus EIAV capsids. HIV-1 CA binding mapped to residues that line the common alpha helix 3/4 hydrophobic pocket that also mediates binding to the small molecule PF-3450074 (PF74) inhibitor and cleavage and polyadenylation specific factor 6 (CPSF6) protein, with Asn57 (Asp58 in EIAV) playing a particularly important role. PF74 and CPSF6 accordingly each competed with NUP153(C) for binding to the HIV-1 CA pocket, and significantly higher concentrations of PF74 were needed to inhibit HIV-1 infection in the face of Trim-NUP153(C) expression or NUP153 knockdown. Correlation between CA mutant viral cell cycle and NUP153 dependencies moreover indicates that the NUP153(C)-CA interaction underlies the ability of HIV-1 to infect non-dividing cells. Our results highlight similar mechanisms of binding for disparate host factors to the same region of HIV-1 CA during viral ingress. We conclude that a subset of lentiviral CA proteins directly engage FG-motifs present on NUP153 to affect viral nuclear import.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Active Transport, Cell Nucleus / genetics
  • Amino Acid Motifs
  • Binding Sites
  • Cell Cycle
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Nucleus / genetics
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism*
  • Cell Nucleus / virology
  • HIV Infections / genetics
  • HIV Infections / metabolism*
  • HIV-1 / genetics
  • HIV-1 / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Hydrophobic and Hydrophilic Interactions
  • Mutation
  • Nuclear Pore Complex Proteins / genetics
  • Nuclear Pore Complex Proteins / metabolism*
  • Protein Binding
  • gag Gene Products, Human Immunodeficiency Virus / genetics
  • gag Gene Products, Human Immunodeficiency Virus / metabolism*
  • mRNA Cleavage and Polyadenylation Factors / genetics
  • mRNA Cleavage and Polyadenylation Factors / metabolism


  • NUP153 protein, human
  • Nuclear Pore Complex Proteins
  • cleavage factor Im, human
  • gag Gene Products, Human Immunodeficiency Virus
  • mRNA Cleavage and Polyadenylation Factors