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Open Access Research article

Defects in cellular sorting and retroviral assembly induced by GGA overexpression

Anjali Joshi13, Kunio Nagashima2 and Eric O Freed1*

Author Affiliations

1 Virus-Cell Interaction Section, HIV Drug Resistance Program, National Cancer Institute at Frederick, Maryland, USA

2 Image Analysis Laboratory, Advanced Technology Program, SAIC-Frederick, National Cancer Institute at Frederick, Frederick, Maryland, USA

3 Department of Biomedical Sciences, Center of Excellence for Infectious Diseases, Paul L. Foster School of Medicine, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, El Paso, TX 79905, USA

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BMC Cell Biology 2009, 10:72  doi:10.1186/1471-2121-10-72

Published: 29 September 2009



We previously demonstrated that overexpression of Golgi-localized, γ-ear containing, Arf-binding (GGA) proteins inhibits retrovirus assembly and release by disrupting the function of endogenous ADP ribosylation factors (Arfs). GGA overexpression led to the formation of large, swollen vacuolar compartments, which in the case of GGA1 sequestered HIV-1 Gag.


In the current study, we extend our previous findings to characterize in depth the GGA-induced compartments and the determinants for retroviral Gag sequestration in these structures. We find that GGA-induced structures are derived from the Golgi and contain aggresome markers. GGA overexpression leads to defects in trafficking of transferrin receptor and recycling of cation-dependent mannose 6-phosphate receptor. Additionally, we find that compartments induced by GGA overexpression sequester Tsg101, poly-ubiquitin, and, in the case of GGA3, Hrs. Interestingly, brefeldin A treatment, which leads to the dissociation of endogenous GGAs from membranes, does not dissociate the GGA-induced compartments. GGA mutants that are defective in Arf binding and hence association with membranes also induce the formation of GGA-induced structures. Overexpression of ubiquitin reverses the formation of GGA-induced structures and partially rescues HIV-1 particle production. We found that in addition to HIV-1 Gag, equine infectious anemia virus Gag is also sequestered in GGA1-induced structures. The determinants in Gag responsible for sequestration map to the matrix domain, and recruitment to these structures is dependent on Gag membrane binding.


These data provide insights into the composition of structures induced by GGA overexpression and their ability to disrupt endosomal sorting and retroviral particle production.