The neuronal damage characteristic of HIV-1-mediated CNS diseases is inflicted by HIV-1 infected brain macrophages. Several steps of viral replication, including assembly and budding, differ between macrophages and T cells; it is likely that cell-specific host factors mediate these differences. We previously defined Annexin 2 (Anx2) as an HIV Gag binding partner in human monocyte-derived macrophages (MDMs) that promotes proper viral assembly. Anx2, a calcium-dependent membrane-binding protein that can aggregate phospholipid-containing lipid rafts, is expressed to high levels in macrophages, but not in T lymphocytes or the 293T cell line. Here, we use bimolecular fluorescence complementation in the 293T cell model to demonstrate that Anx2 and HIV-1 Gag interact at the phosphatidylinositol (4,5) bisphosphatecontaining lipid raft membrane domains at which Gag mediates viral assembly. Furthermore, we demonstrate that Anx2 expression in 293T cells increases Gag processing and HIV-1 production. These data provide new evidence that Anx2, by interacting with Gag at the membranes that support viral assembly, functions in the late stages of HIV-1 replication.
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