Cell chemical biology
A versatile tool for live-cell imaging and super-resolution nanoscopy studies of HIV-1 Env distribution and mobility
Sakin, V., Hanne, J., Dunder, J., Anders-Össwein, M., Laketa, V., Nikić, I., ... & Müller, B.
human immunodeficiency virus, envelope protein, gp120, genetic code expansion, amber suppression, non-canonical amino acids, click labeling, fluorescence recovery after photo bleaching, STED nanoscopy
The envelope glycoproteins (Env) of HIV-1 mediate cell entry through fusion of the viral envelope with a target cell membrane. Intramembrane mobility and clustering of Env trimers at the viral budding site are essential for its function. Previous live-cell and super-resolution microscopy studies were limited by lack of a functional fluorescent Env derivative, requiring antibody labeling for detection. Introduction of a bio-orthogonal amino acid by genetic code expansion, combined with click chemistry, offers novel possibilities for site-specific, minimally invasive labeling. Using this approach, we established efficient incorporation of non-canonical amino acids within HIV-1 Env in mammalian cells. The engineered protein retained plasma membrane localization, glycosylation, virion incorporation, and fusogenic activity, and could be rapidly and specifically labeled with synthetic dyes. This strategy allowed us to revisit Env dynamics and nanoscale distribution at the plasma membrane close to its native state, applying fluorescence recovery after photo bleaching and STED nanoscopy, respectively.