- Live cell fluorescence imaging is the method of choice for studying dynamic processes, such as nuclear transport, vesicular trafficking, and virus entry and egress. However, endogenous cellular autofluorescence masks a useful fluorescence signal, limiting the ability to reliably visualize low-abundance fluorescent proteins. Here, we employed synchronously amplified fluorescence image recovery (SAFIRe), which optically alters ground versus photophysical dark state populations within fluorescent proteins to modulate and selectively detect their background-free emission.
- Enveloped viruses transfer their genomes into host cells by fusing their membrane to that of the cell. To visualize single-virus fusion in living cells, researchers take advantage of the proteolytic maturation of HIV, type 1 (HIV-1), which can generate free fluorescent proteins within the viral particle. Co-labeling viruses with a content marker and a fluorescently tagged Vpr (a viral core protein) enables detection of single-virus fusions, but a major limitation of this approach is that not all viral particles incorporate both markers.
- HIV fusion with the cell membrane can be inhibited by blocking coreceptor binding or by preventing fusion-inducing conformational changes in the Env protein. Logically, inhibitors that act by these two mechanisms should act synergistically, but previous studies have reported conflicting results. A new study by Ahn and Root reconciles these discordant reports by demonstrating that synergy emerges when Env engages multiple coreceptors prior to inducing fusion and when high-affinity inhibitory peptides are used, a condition that may not be satisfied in vivo.
- Enveloped viruses infect host cells by fusing their membranes with those of the host cell, a process mediated by viral glycoproteins upon binding to cognate host receptors or entering into acidic intracellular compartments. Whereas the effect of receptor density on viral infection has been well studied, the role of cell type-specific factors/processes, such as pH regulation, has not been characterized in sufficient detail. Here, we examined the effects of cell-extrinsic factors (buffer environment) and cell-intrinsic factors (interferon-inducible transmembrane proteins, IFITMs), on the pH regulation in early endosomes and on the efficiency of acid-dependent fusion of the avian sarcoma and leukosis virus (ASLV), with endosomes.
- The host proteins, SERINC3 and SERINC5, have been recently shown to incorporate into HIV-1 particles and compromise their ability to fuse with target cells, an effect that is antagonized by the viral Nef protein. Envelope (Env) glycoproteins from different HIV-1 isolates exhibit a broad range of sensitivity to SERINC-mediated restriction, and the mechanism by which SERINCs interfere with HIV-1 fusion remains unclear. Here, we show that incorporation of SERINC5 into virions in the absence of Nef inhibits the formation of small fusion pores between viruses and cells.
- Background: Determinants of HIV-1 fusion with the plasma membrane versus endosomal membrane are unknown.Results: Unlike HIV-cell fusion, HIV-mediated fusion of the plasma membranes of adjacent cells occurred with much lower probability and was actin-dependent.Conclusion: Distinct regulation of HIV-mediated cell-cell fusion and virus-cell fusion indicates that the latter events may occur in endosomes.Significance: These results shed light on the HIV entry routes.