11 June 2019
University of California, Berkely
The cryoEM structure of a simian immunodeficiency virus protein bound to primate proteins shows how a mutation in early humans allowed our ancestors to escape infection while monkeys and apes did not. SIV's Nef protein forms a solid link between two primate proteins, tetherin, and AP-2, forcing the destruction of tetherin, which normally prevents new SIV virions from budding off. A mutation in human tetherin disrupted binding, thwarting SIV budding -- until HIV evolved a workaround.