In retroviruses, the late (L) domain has been defined as a conserved motif in the Gag polyprotein precursor that, when mutated, leads to the emergence of virus particles that fail to pinch off from the plasma membrane. These domains have been observed to contain the PPXY, PTAP, or YXXL motifs. The deltaretroviruses, which include bovine leukemia virus (BLV) and human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) and HTLV-2, have a conserved PPPY motif in the C-terminal region of the matrix (MA) domain of Gag, while HTLV-1 also encodes a PTAP motif in MA. In this study, we analyzed the roles of the PPPY and PTAP motifs in the C terminus of MA in HTLV-1 particle release. Mutation of either motif (i.e., PPPY changed to APPY or PTAP changed to PTRP) reduced budding efficiencies. Particle buds and electron-dense regions of plasma membrane were observed by electron microscopy. When the locations of PPPY and PTAP were switched, particle release was eliminated. Intriguingly, the replacement of the PTAP motif with either the PPPY or YPDL motifs did not influence the release of virus particles, but the replacement of the PPPY motif with either PTAP or YPDL eliminated particle production. This indicates that the role that PPPY plays in HTLV-1 budding cannot be replaced with either PTAP or YPDL. A similar observation was made with the BLV PPPY motif. Finally, HTLV-1 particle release was found to be sensitive to proteasome inhibitors, implicating a role for ubiquitin in HTLV-1 budding. In summary, our observations indicate that (i) the PPPY motif plays a crucial role in virus budding and (ii) the PTAP motif plays a more subtle role in HTLV-1 particle release. Each of these motifs may play an important role in virus release from specific cell types and therefore be important in efficient virus spread and transmission.
Copyright 2008 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.