Quantitative multicolor super-resolution microscopy reveals tetherin HIV-1 interaction

Martin Lehmann, Susana Rocha, Bastien Mangeat, Fabien Blanchet, Hiroshi Uji-i, Johan Hofkens, Vincent Piguet (see publication in Journal )


Virus assembly and interaction with host-cell proteins occur at length scales below the diffraction limit of visible light. Novel super-resolution microscopy techniques achieve nanometer resolution of fluorescently labeled molecules. The cellular restriction factor tetherin (also known as CD317, BST-2 or HM1.24) inhibits the release of human immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV-1) through direct incorporation into viral membranes and is counteracted by the HIV-1 protein Vpu. For super-resolution analysis of HIV-1 and tetherin interactions, we established fluorescence labeling of HIV-1 proteins and tetherin that preserved HIV-1 particle formation and Vpu-dependent restriction, respectively. Multicolor super-resolution microscopy revealed important structural features of individual HIV-1 virions, virus assembly sites and their interaction with tetherin at the plasma membrane. Tetherin localization to micro-domains was dependent on both tetherin membrane anchors. Tetherin clusters containing on average 4 to 7 tetherin dimers were visualized at HIV-1 assembly sites. Combined biochemical and super-resolution analysis revealed that extended tetherin dimers incorporate both N-termini into assembling virus particles and restrict HIV-1 release. Neither tetherin domains nor HIV-1 assembly sites showed enrichment of the raft marker GM1. Together, our super-resolution microscopy analysis of HIV-1 interactions with tetherin provides new insights into the mechanism of tetherin-mediated HIV-1 restriction and paves the way for future studies of virus-host interactions.