Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 17928336
J Virol 2007 Dec; 81(24): 13852-64
Nef is a multifunctional accessory protein of primate lentiviruses. Recently, it has been shown that the ability of Nef to downmodulate CD4, CD28, and class I major histocompatibility complex is highly conserved between most or all primate lentiviruses, whereas Nef-mediated downregulation of T-cell receptor-CD3 was lost in the lineage that gave rise to human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). Whether or not other Nef activities are preserved between different groups of primate lentiviruses remained to be determined. Here, we show that nef genes from a large variety of HIVs and simian immunodeficiency viruses (SIVs) enhance virion infectivity and stimulate viral replication in human cells and/or in ex vivo infected human lymphoid tissue (HLT). Notably, nef alleles from unpassaged SIVcpz and SIVsmm enhanced viral infectivity, replication, and cytopathicity in cell culture and in ex vivo infected HLT as efficiently as those from HIV-1 and HIV-2, their human counterparts. Furthermore, nef genes from several highly divergent SIVs that have not been found in humans were also highly active in human cells and/or tissues. Thus, most primate lentiviral Nefs enhance virion infectivity and stimulate viral replication. Moreover, our data show that SIVcpz and SIVsmm Nefs do not require adaptive changes to perform these functions in human cells or tissues and support the idea that nef alleles from other primate lentiviruses would also be capable of promoting efficient virus spread in humans.