The NIH intramural research program has shifted all non-mission-critical laboratory operations to a maintenance phase in order to promote physical distancing and diminished transmission risk of COVID-19. Effective Monday, March 23, 2020, only mission-critical functions within NIH research laboratories will be supported.
The assembly of HIV-1 Gag proteins is an essential process for the generation of fully infectious HIV particles. While it is widely accepted that this process is largely mediated by binding of Gag to the viral genome, emerging evidence has shown that Gag can bind to a diverse class of host cell RNAs as well. To date, it is still unclear whether cellular RNAs play a role during HIV-1 assembly. We are currently addressing this question using a myriad of live-cell imaging, biochemistry and fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) techniques. By investigating the interactions between the HIV-1 Gag proteins and different classes of RNA, we hope to determine how RNA-protein binding affects HIV-1 assembly and budding.
Figure: HEK 293 cells expressing the HIV-1 viral genome (A) and Gag protein (B), which colocalize in cells (C).