CPSF6 Defines a Conserved Capsid Interface that Modulates HIV-1 Replication
The HIV-1 genome enters cells inside a shell comprised of capsid (CA) protein. Variation in CA sequence alters HIV-1 infectivity and escape from host restriction factors. However, apart from the Cyclophilin A-binding loop, CA has no known interfaces with which to interact with cellular cofactors. Here we describe a novel protein-protein interface in the N-terminal domain of HIV-1 CA, determined by X-ray crystallography, which mediates both viral restriction and host cofactor dependence. The interface is highly conserved across lentiviruses and is accessible in the context of a hexameric lattice. Mutation of the interface prevents binding to and restriction by CPSF6-358, a truncated cytosolic form of the RNA processing factor, cleavage and polyadenylation specific factor 6 (CPSF6). Furthermore, mutations that prevent CPSF6 binding also relieve dependence on nuclear entry cofactors TNPO3 and RanBP2. These results suggest that the HIV-1 capsid mediates direct host cofactor interactions to facilitate viral infection. In order to infect a host cell, HIV-1 must interact with and exploit cellular cofactors. Mutations within capsid, the protein shell that surrounds the virus, have been shown to affect virus usage of these cofactors and susceptibility to host antiviral proteins. However, with the exception of the Cyclophilin A-binding loop, there is no defined protein interface on the capsid that mediates interactions with cellular proteins. Here, we describe the identification of a conserved interface on HIV-1 capsid that binds the host protein CPSF6 and determines viral dependence on nuclear transport cofactors. This data illustrates how host-virus interactions allow HIV-1 to hitch a ride into the nucleus and reveals a potential new target for antiviral drugs.