Title: HIV Capsid Pattern Sensing by the Host Cell
The mature HIV capsid provides a range of interfaces recognizable by host factors and, during its post-entry journey from the cell periphery to the nucleus, the virus encounters a variety of them—some co-opted for optimal infectivity, others evolutionarily designed to prevent infection. A common feature of these interactions is the ability of capsid pattern sensing by the host. This feature allows a host factor to preferably bind intact capsid cores that contain the viral genome, and to avoid the numerous unassembled CA molecules present in the cell. However, high-order capsid recognition is challenging to study in vitro. Here I present various protein-engineering strategies for the production of a repertoire of soluble capsid assemblies and the use of these assemblies in the study of native capsid structure and capsid-host factor interactions. Our studies contribute to a better understanding of the diverse molecular mechanisms by which host factors recognize the capsid lattice pattern.