Generation and validation of a highly sensitive bioluminescent HIV-1 reporter vector that simplifies measurement of virus release

Retrovirology. 2020;17(1):1-11 DOI 10.1186/s12977-020-00521-5

 

Journal Homepage

Journal Title: Retrovirology

ISSN: 1742-4690 (Online)

Publisher: BMC

LCC Subject Category: Medicine: Internal medicine: Specialties of internal medicine: Immunologic diseases. Allergy

Country of publisher: United Kingdom

Language of fulltext: English

Full-text formats available: PDF, HTML

 

AUTHORS


James Kirui (Virus-Cell Interaction Section, HIV Dynamics and Replication Program, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute)

Eric O. Freed (Virus-Cell Interaction Section, HIV Dynamics and Replication Program, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute)

EDITORIAL INFORMATION

Blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 11 weeks

 

Abstract | Full Text

Abstract Background The continued persistence of HIV-1 as a public health concern due to the lack of a cure calls for the development of new tools for studying replication of the virus. Here, we used NanoLuc, a small and extremely bright luciferase protein, to develop an HIV-1 bioluminescent reporter virus that simplifies functional measurement of virus particle production. Results The reporter virus encodes a Gag protein containing NanoLuc inserted between the matrix (MA) and capsid (CA) domains of Gag, thereby generating virus particles that package high levels of the NanoLuc reporter. We observe that inserting the NanoLuc protein within HIV-1 Gag has minimal impact on Gag expression and virus particle release. We show that the reporter virus recapitulates inhibition of HIV-1 particle release by Gag mutations, the restriction factor tetherin, and the small-molecule inhibitor amphotericin-B methyl ester. Conclusion These results demonstrate that this vector will provide a simple and rapid tool for functional studies of virus particle assembly and release and high-throughput screening for cellular factors and small molecules that promote or inhibit HIV-1 particle production.