UMMS Affiliation

Program in Molecular Medicine

Publication Date


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Genetics and Genomics | Immunity | Microbiology | Virology


Host restriction factor TRIM5 inhibits retroviral transduction in a species-specific manner by binding to and destabilizing the retroviral capsid lattice before reverse transcription is completed. But the restriction mechanism may not be that simple since TRIM5 E3 ubiquitin ligase activity, the proteasome, autophagy, and TAK1-dependent AP-1 signaling have been suggested to contribute to restriction. Here we show that, among a panel of seven primate and Carnivora TRIM5 orthologues, each of which has potential for potent retroviral restriction activity, all activated AP-1 signaling. In contrast, TRIM family paralogues most closely related to TRIM5 did not. While each primate species has a single TRIM5 gene, mice have at least seven TRIM5 homologues that cluster into two groups, Trim12a, b, and c, and Trim30a, b, c, and d. The three Trim12 proteins activated innate immune signaling, while the Trim30 proteins did not, though none of the murine Trim5 homologues restricted any of a panel of cloned retroviruses. To determine if any mouse TRIM5 homologues had potential for restriction activity each was fused to the HIV-1 CA binding protein cyclophilin A (CypA). The three Trim12-CypA fusions all activated AP-1 and restricted HIV-1 transduction, whereas the Trim30-CypA fusions did neither. AP-1 activation and HIV-1 restriction by the Trim12-CypA fusions was inhibited by disruption of TAK1. Overall then, these experiments demonstrate that there is a strong correlation between TRIM5 retroviral restriction activity and the ability to activate TAK1-dependent innate immune signaling.

IMPORTANCE: The importance of retroviruses for the evolution of susceptible host organisms cannot be overestimated. 8% of the human genome is retrovirus sequence, fixed in the germline during past infection. Understanding how metazoa protect their genomes from mutagenic retrovirus infection is therefore of fundamental importance to biology. TRIM5 is a cellular protein that protects host genome integrity by disrupting the retroviral capsid as it transports viral nucleic acid to the host cell nucleus. Previous data suggest that innate immune signaling contributes to TRIM5-mediated restriction. Here we show that activation of innate immune signaling is conserved among primate and carnivore TRIM5 orthologues, and among 3 of the 7 mouse Trim5 homologues, and that such activity is required for TRIM5-mediated restriction activity.

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Copyright © 2015 Lascano et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license, which permits unrestricted noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

DOI of Published Version



J Virol. 2015 Oct 14. pii: JVI.02496-15. doi:10.1128/JVI.02496-15. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of virology

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.



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