The gag gene products of human immunodeficiency virus type 1: Alignment within the gag open reading frame, identification of posttranslatioinal modifications, and evidence for alternative gag precursors

R. J. Mervis, Nafees - Ahmad, E. P. Lillehoj, M. G. Raum, F. H R Salazar, H. W. Chan, S. Venkatesan

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Seven human immunodeficiency virus gag polypeptides were identified in the purified virus and in infected CD4+ lymphocytes by peptide mapping and limited amino acid sequencing of immune-purified proteins. Two gag polyproteins of 55,000 (p55) and 41,000 (p41) daltons were rapidly labeled and readily processed into the major internal gag proteins that were aligned within the gag open reading frame (ORF) as NH2-p16 (MA)-p24 (CA)-p9 (NC)-p7-COOH. The myristoylated p16 (matrix, MA) protein was processed from the myristoylated p55 gag precursor protein. The immunoreactivity of the p16 (MA) protein with region-specific gag antisera and the conservation of the N-terminal myristyl group of the p55 precursor protein in p16 (MA) confirmed its position as the N-terminal-most protein. The p9 (nucleocapsid, NC) protein was localized to residue 378 of the gag ORF, next to the C terminus of the p24/p25 (core antigen, CA) protein. The p9 protein had a repeating Cys residue-containing motif which is found in the nucleic acid-binding Cys residue-containing proteins of retroviruses. The p24 (CA) protein, which was localized to residue 133 of the gag ORF, was apparently derived by C-terminal processing of an intermediate polypeptide, p25. Both the mature p24 (CA) and p16 (MA) proteins were phosphorylated at Ser residue(s). We also identified two forms of gag p41 species, one resulting from the C-terminal processing of p55 and the other originating either from N-terminal processing of p55 or from de novo synthesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3993-4002
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology

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