Members of the Nedd4 family of E3 ubiquitin ligases bind the L domain in avian sarcoma virus (ASV) Gag and facilitate viral particle release. Translational fusion of ASV Gag with an L domain deletion (Deltap2b) to proteins that comprise ESCRT-I, -II, and -III (the endocytic sorting complexes required for transport) rescued both Gag ubiquitination and particle release from cells. The ESCRT-I factors Vps37C or Tsg101 were more effective in rescue of Gag/Deltap2b budding than the ESCRT-II factor Eap20 or the ESCRT-III component CHMP6. Thus ESCRT components can substitute for Nedd4 family members in ASV Gag release. Unlike wild type, ASV Gag/Deltap2b -ESCRT chimeras failed to co-immunoprecipitate with co-expressed hemagglutinin-tagged Nedd4, indicating that Nedd4 was not stably associated with these Gag fusions. Release of the Gag-ESCRT-I or -II fusions was inhibited by a dominant negative mutant of Vps4 ATPase similar to wild type ASV Gag. In contrast to ASV Gag, HIV-1 Gag containing an L domain inactivating mutation (P7L) was efficiently rescued by fusion to a component of ESCRT-III (Chmp6) but not ESCRT-II (Eap20). Depletion of the endogenous pool of Eap20 (ESCRT-II) had little effect on HIV-1 Gag release but blocked ASV Gag release. In contrast, depletion of the endogenous pool of Vps37C (ESCRT-I) had little effect on ASV but blocked HIV-1 Gag release. Furthermore, an N-terminal fragment of Chmp6 inhibited both HIV-1 and ASV Gag release in a dominant negative manner. Taken together, these results indicate that ASV and HIV-1 Gag utilize different combinations of ESCRT proteins to facilitate the budding process, although they share some common elements.
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