Tetherin (BST-2 or CD317) is an interferon-inducible cellular factor that prevents the detachment of enveloped viruses from infected cells. The primate lentiviruses have evolved different countermeasures to tetherin. The majority of SIVs use Nef to antagonize the tetherin proteins of their nonhuman primate hosts. However, due to the absence of sequences in human tetherin required for antagonism by Nef, HIV-1 Vpu and HIV-2 Env evolved to serve this function in humans. We recently identified compensatory changes in the Env cytoplasmic domain of a pathogenic nef-deleted SIV that confers resistance to rhesus macaque tetherin. These observations highlight the extraordinary plasticity of the primate lentiviruses in adapting to the tetherin proteins of their respective hosts, and reveal a prominent role for tetherin in shaping the evolution of the primate lentiviruses.
- Innate immunity
- Restriction factor