Leo James

Friday, 5 October 2018 |3:00 pm

MRC Programme Leader, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology Cambridge, UK

How HIV uses its capsid to promote infection

(Host: O. Burrone/G. Papa)

For many viruses, the most complex and hazardous infectious step begins after entry into a cell. Viruses must avoid being detected and disabled by host immunity but actively recruit host proteins to act as co-factors. Encapsidation is a near universal solution to this problem and extensively employed to protect fragile genomic cargo. In my talk, I will discuss some of the consequences of encaspidation focusing on the retrovirus HIV.

I will describe how the HIV capsid is a far more dynamic and complex structure than the simple genome package first envisaged. This is illustrated by the recent discovery of charged pores in the hexamer lattice and their ability to bind cellular polyanions. A model will be proposed in which the newly identified capsid cofactor inositol hexakisphosphate (IP6) serves as an HIV pocket factor that promotes viral replication from assembly to uncoating.