HIV-1 specifically incorporates the peptidyl prolyl isomerase cyclophilin A (CyPA), the cytosolic receptor for the immunosuppressant cyclosporin A (CsA). HIV-1 replication is inhibited by CsA as well as by nonimmunosuppressive CsA analogues that bind to CyPA and interfere with its virion association. In contrast, the related simian immunodeficiency virus SIVmac, which does not interact with CyPA, is resistant to these compounds. The incorporation of CyPA into HIV-1 virions is mediated by a specific interaction between the active site of the enzyme and the capsid (CA) domain of the HIV-1 Gag polyprotein. We report here that the transfer of HIV-1 CA residues 86–93, which form part of an exposed loop, to the corresponding position in SIVmac resulted in the efficient incorporation of CyPA and conferred an HIV-1-like sensitivity to a nonimmunosuppressive cyclosporin. HIV-1 CA residues 86–90 were also sufficient to transfer the ability to efficiently incorporate CyPA, provided that the length of the CyPA-binding loop was preserved. However, the resulting SIVmac mutant required the presence of cyclosporin for efficient virus replication. The results indicate that the presence or absence of a type II tight turn adjacent to the primary CyPA-binding site determines whether CyPA incorporation enhances or inhibits viral replication. By demonstrating that CyPA-binding-site residues can induce cyclosporin sensitivity in a heterologous context, this study provides direct in vivo evidence that the exposed loop between helices IV and V of HIV-1 CA not merely constitutes a docking site for CyPA but is a functional target of this cellular protein
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