Retroviral capsid (CA) cores undergo uncoating during their retrograde transport (toward the nucleus), and/or after reaching the nuclear membrane. However, whether HIV-1 CA core uncoating is dependent upon its transport is not understood. There is some evidence that HIV-1 cores retrograde transport involves cytoplasmic dynein complexes translocating on microtubules. Here we investigate the role of dynein-dependent transport in HIV-1 uncoating. To interfere with dynein function, we depleted dynein heavy chain (DHC) using RNA interference, and we over-expressed p50/dynamitin. In immunofluorescence microscopy experiments, DHC depletion caused an accumulation of CA foci in HIV-1 infected cells. Using a biochemical assay to monitor HIV-1 CA core disassembly in infected cells, we observed an increase in amounts of intact (pelletable) CA cores upon DHC depletion or p50 over-expression. Results from these two complementary assays suggest that inhibiting dynein-mediated transport interferes with HIV-1 uncoating in infected cells, indicating the existence of a functional link between HIV-1 transport and uncoating.
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