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, 7:114

First Online: 22 December 2010Received: 12 November 2010Accepted: 22 December 2010


Viral protein U Vpu is a type 1 membrane-associated accessory protein that is unique to human immunodeficiency virus type 1 HIV-1 and a subset of related simian immunodeficiency virus SIV. The Vpu protein encoded by HIV-1 is associated with two primary functions during the viral life cycle. First, it contributes to HIV-1-induced CD4 receptor downregulation by mediating the proteasomal degradation of newly synthesized CD4 molecules in the endoplasmic reticulum ER. Second, it enhances the release of progeny virions from infected cells by antagonizing Tetherin, an interferon IFN-regulated host restriction factor that directly cross-links virions on host cell-surface. This review will mostly focus on recent advances on the role of Vpu in CD4 downregulation and Tetherin antagonism and will discuss how these two functions may have impacted primate immunodeficiency virus cross-species transmission and the emergence of pandemic strain of HIV-1.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1742-4690-7-114 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Mathieu Dubé, Mariana G Bego, Catherine Paquay contributed equally to this work.

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Autor: Mathieu Dubé - Mariana G Bego - Catherine Paquay - Éric A Cohen


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