Functional and Structural Insights into a Vif/PPP2R5 Complex Elucidated Using Patient HIV-1 Isolates and Computational Modeling

Daniel J Salamango, Jennifer L McCann, Özlem Demir, Jordan T Becker, Jiayi Wang, Jairam R Lingappa, Nuri A Temiz, William L Brown, Rommie E Amaro, Reuben S Harris


Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) Vif recruits a cellular ubiquitin ligase complex to degrade antiviral APOBEC3 enzymes (APOBEC3C-H) and PP2A phosphatase regulators (PPP2R5A to PPP2R5E). While APOBEC3 antagonism is the canonical function of HIV-1 Vif, this viral accessory protein is also known to trigger G2/M cell cycle arrest. Vif initiates G2/M arrest by degrading multiple PPP2R5 family members, an activity prevalent among diverse HIV-1 and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) isolates. Here, computational protein-protein docking was used to delineate a Vif/CBF-β/PPP2R5 complex in which Vif is predicted to bind the same PPP2R5 surface as physiologic phosphatase targets. This model was tested using targeted mutagenesis of amino acid residues within or adjacent to the putative interface to show loss or retention, respectively, of Vif-induced PPP2R5 degradation activity. Additionally, expression of a peptide that mimics cellular targets of PPP2R5s robustly inhibited Vif-mediated degradation of PPP2R5A but not APOBEC3G. Moreover, live-cell imaging studies examining Vif-mediated degradation of PPP2R5A and APOBEC3G within the same cell revealed that PPP2R5A degradation kinetics are comparable to those of APOBEC3G with a half-life of roughly 6 h postinfection, demonstrating that Vif can concurrently mediate the degradation of distinct cellular substrates. Finally, experiments with a panel of patient-derived Vif isolates indicated that PPP2R5A degradation activity is common in patient-derived isolates. Taken together, these results support a model in which PPP2R5 degradation and global changes in the cellular phosphoproteome are likely to be advantageous for viral pathogenesis.IMPORTANCE A critical function of HIV-1 Vif is to counteract the family of APOBEC3 innate immune proteins. It is also widely accepted that Vif induces G2/M cell cycle arrest in several different cell types. Recently, it has been shown that Vif degrades multiple PPP2R5 phosphoregulators to induce the G2/M arrest phenotype. Here, computational approaches are used to test a structural model of the Vif/PPP2R5 complex. In addition, imaging studies are used to show that Vif degrades these PPP2R5 substrates in roughly the same time frame as APOBEC3 degradation and that this activity is prevalent in patient-derived Vif isolates. These studies are important by further defining PPP2R5 proteins as a bona fide substrate of HIV-1 Vif