Evolution of feline immunodeficiency virus Gag proteins

Evan Burkala, Mary Poss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


We evaluated the predicted biochemical properties of Gag proteins from a diverse group of feline immunodeficiency viruses (FIV) to determine how different evolutionary histories of virus and host have changed or constrained these important structural proteins. Our data are based on FIV sequences derived from domestic cat (FIVfca), cougar (FIVpco), and lions (FIVple). Analyses consisted of determining the selective forces acting at each position in the protein and the comparing predictions for secondary structure, charge, hydrophobicity and flexibility for matrix, capsid and nucleocapsid, and the C-terminal peptide, which comprise the Gag proteins. We demonstrate that differences among the FIV Gag proteins have largely arisen by neutral evolution, although many neutrally evolving regions have maintained biochemical features. Regions with predicted differences in biochemical features appear to involve intramolecular interactions and structural elements that undergo conformational changes during particle maturation. In contrast, the majority of sites involved in intermolecular contacts on the protein surface are constrained by purifying selection. There is also conservation of sites that interact with host proteins associated with cellular trafficking and particle budding. NC is the only protein with evidence of positive selection, two of which occur in the N-terminal region responsible for RNA binding and interaction with host proteins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)251-264
Number of pages14
JournalVirus Genes
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Virology


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