Cell Cycle 2007 Jan 17;6(2):182-8. Epub 2007 Jan 17.
Institut Cochin, Département Maladies Infectieuses, Inserm, CNRS, Université Paris 5, Paris, France.
How the HIV1 Vpr protein initiates the host cell response leading to cell cycle arrest in G(2) has remained unknown. Here, we show that recruitment of DCAF1/VprBP by Vpr is essential for its cytostatic activity, which can be abolished either by single mutations of Vpr that impair DCAF1 binding, or by siRNA-mediated silencing of DCAF1. Furthermore, DCAF1 bridges Vpr to DDB1, a core subunit of Cul4 ubiquitin ligases. Altogether these results point to a mechanism where Vpr triggers G(2) arrest by hijacking the Cul4/DDB1(DCAF1) ubiquitin ligase. We further show that, Vpx, a non-cytostatic Vpr-related protein acquired by HIV2 and SIV, also binds DCAF1 through a conserved motif. Thus, Vpr from HIV1 and Vpx from SIV recruit DCAF1 with different physiological outcomes for the host cell. This in turn suggests that both proteins have evolved to preserve interaction with the same Cul4 ubiquitin ligase while diverging in the recognition of host substrates targeted for proteasomal degradation.