Ubiquitin is part of the retrovirus budding machinery

Akash Patnaik, Vincent Chau, John W. Wills

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

259 Scopus citations


Retroviruses contain relatively large amounts of ubiquitin, but the significance of this finding has been unknown. Here, we show that drugs that are known to reduce the level of free ubiquitin in the cell dramatically reduced the release of Rous sarcoma virus, an avian retrovirus. This effect was suppressed by overexpressing ubiquitin and also by directly fusing ubiquitin to the C terminus of Gag, the viral protein that directs budding and particle release. The block to budding was found to be at the plasma membrane, and electron microscopy revealed that the reduced level of ubiquitin results in a failure of mature virus particles to separate from each other and from the plasma membrane during budding. These data indicate that ubiquitin is actually part of the budding machinery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13069-13074
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number24
StatePublished - Nov 21 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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