SERINC5(S5) is a multi-span transmembrane protein that potently blocks the infectivity of HIV-1 produced by human T-cells. The ability of S5 to restrict infectivity correlates with its presence in the virion, but the exact mechanism by which S5 restricts HIV-1 is unknown. Here we tested whether the core from HIV-1 virions containing S5 is delivered to the cytoplasm. Using the “fate of the capsid” assay, we demonstrated that the viral core of S5-restricted HIV-1 does not reach the cytoplasm of target cells, suggesting a block in the delivery of the core to the cytoplasm. In agreement with evidence suggesting that the viral determinants for S5 restriction map to the envelope of HIV-1, we observed that S5 induces conformational changes to the HIV-1 envelope. Further, we demonstrated that S5 localizes to detergent-resistant membranes (DRMs), as has been shown previously for the HIV-1 envelope in producer cells. In order to identify the determinants of S5 restriction, we explored the ability of all human SERINC proteins to restrict HIV-1. In contrast to human S5, we observed that human SERINC2(S2) did not restrict HIV-1, and was inefficiently incorporated into HIV-1 virions when compared to S5. Experiments using S5-S2 chimeric proteins revealed two functional domains for restriction: one necessary for S5 incorporation into virions, which does not seem to be necessary for restriction, and a second one necessary to change the HIV-1 envelope conformation, localize to DRMs, and block infection.
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