Cooperative Membrane Binding of HIV-1 Matrix Proteins

J Phys Chem B. 2024 Mar 21;128(11):2595-2606. doi: 10.1021/acs.jpcb.3c06222. Epub 2024 Mar 13.


The HIV-1 assembly process begins with a newly synthesized Gag polyprotein being targeted to the inner leaflet of the plasma membrane of the infected cells to form immature viral particles. Gag-membrane interactions are mediated through the myristoylated (Myr) N-terminal matrix (MA) domain of Gag, which eventually multimerize on the membrane to form trimers and higher order oligomers. The study of the structure and dynamics of peripheral membrane proteins like MA has been challenging for both experimental and computational studies due to the complex transient dynamics of protein-membrane interactions. Although the roles of anionic phospholipids (PIP2, PS) and the Myr group in the membrane targeting and stable membrane binding of MA are now well-established, the cooperative interactions between the MA monomers and MA-membrane remain elusive in the context of viral assembly and release. Our present study focuses on the membrane binding dynamics of a higher order oligomeric structure of MA protein (a dimer of trimers), which has not been explored before. Employing time-lagged independent component analysis (tICA) to our microsecond-long trajectories, we investigate conformational changes of the matrix protein induced by membrane binding. Interestingly, the Myr switch of an MA monomer correlates with the conformational switch of adjacent monomers in the same trimer. Together, our findings suggest complex protein dynamics during the formation of the immature HIV-1 lattice; while MA trimerization facilitates Myr insertion, MA trimer-trimer interactions in the immature lattice can hinder the same.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • HIV-1* / metabolism
  • Protein Binding
  • Viral Matrix Proteins / chemistry
  • Virus Assembly
  • gag Gene Products, Human Immunodeficiency Virus* / metabolism


  • gag Gene Products, Human Immunodeficiency Virus
  • Viral Matrix Proteins