Differential Pressures of SERINC5 and IFITM3 on HIV-1 Envelope Glycoprotein over the Course of HIV-1 Infection

J Virol. 2020 Jul 30;94(16):e00514-20. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00514-20. Print 2020 Jul 30.


Infection of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is subject to restriction by cellular factors. Serine incorporator 5 (SERINC5) and interferon-inducible transmembrane 3 (IFITM3) proteins represent two of these restriction factors, which inhibit HIV-1 entry into target cells. Both proteins impede fusion of the viral membrane with the cellular membrane and the formation of a viral fusion pore, and both are countered by the HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein (Env). Given the immense and lasting pressure which Env endures from host adaptive immune responses, it is important to understand whether and how HIV-1 Env is able to maintain the resistance to SERINC5 and IFITM3 throughout the course of infection. We have thus examined a panel of HIV-1 Env clones that were isolated at different stages of viral infection-transmission, acute, and chronic. While HIV-1 Env clones from the transmission stage are resistant to both SERINC5 and IFITM3, as infection progresses into the acute and chronic stages, the resistance to IFITM3 but not to SERINC5 is gradually lost. We further discovered a significant correlation between the resistance of HIV-1 Env to soluble CD4 inhibition and the resistance to SERINC5 but not to IFITM3. Interestingly, the miniprotein CD4 mimetic M48U1 sensitizes HIV-1 Env to the inhibition by SERINC5 but not IFITM3. Together, these data indicate that SERINC5 and IFITM3 exert differential inhibitory pressures on HIV-1 Env over different stages of HIV-1 infection and that HIV-1 Env uses varied strategies to resist these two restriction factors.IMPORTANCE HIV-1 Env protein is exposed to the inhibition not only by humoral response, but also by host restriction factors, including serine incorporator 5 (SERINC5) and interferon-inducible transmembrane 3 (IFITM3). This study investigates how HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein (Env) manages to overcome the pressures from all these different host inhibition mechanisms over the long course of viral infection. HIV-1 Env preserves the resistance to SERINC5 but becomes sensitive to IFITM3 when infection progresses into the chronic stage. Our study also supports the possibility of using CD4 mimetic compounds to sensitize HIV-1 Env to the inhibition by SERINC5 as a potential therapeutic strategy.

Keywords: HIV; IFITM3; SERINC5; envelope glycoprotein.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line
  • Glycoproteins / metabolism
  • HEK293 Cells
  • HIV Infections / metabolism*
  • HIV Infections / physiopathology
  • HIV-1 / metabolism*
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Humans
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Membrane Proteins / physiology
  • Protein Binding
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / physiology
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / metabolism
  • Virion / metabolism
  • Virus Internalization / drug effects
  • env Gene Products, Human Immunodeficiency Virus / metabolism
  • env Gene Products, Human Immunodeficiency Virus / physiology


  • Glycoproteins
  • IFITM3 protein, human
  • Membrane Proteins
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • SERINC5 protein, human
  • Viral Envelope Proteins
  • env Gene Products, Human Immunodeficiency Virus