Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is dependent on its envelope glycoprotein (Env) to bind, fuse, and subsequently infect a cell. We show here that treatment of HIV-1-infected cells with glycyl-prolyl-glycine amide (GPG-NH2), dramatically reduced the infectivity of the released viral particles by decreasing their Env incorporation. The mechanism of GPG-NH2 was uncovered by examining Env expression and maturation in treated cells. GPG-NH2 treatment was found to affect Env by significantly decreasing its steady-state levels, its processing into gp120/gp41, and its mass by inducing glycan removal in a manner dependent on its native signal sequence and the proteasome. Therefore, GPG-NH2 negatively impacts Env maturation, facilitating its targeting for endoplasmic reticulum-associated protein degradation, where Env is deglycosylated en route to its degradation. These findings illustrate that nontoxic drugs such as GPG-NH2, which can selectively target glycoproteins to existing cellular degradation pathways, may be useful for pathogen therapy.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/daniel_hebert/6/