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Background: Tetherin (also known as BST-2, CD317, and HM1.24) is an interferon- induced protein that blocks the release of a variety of enveloped viruses, such as retroviruses, filoviruses and herpesviruses. However, the relationship between tetherin and foamy viruses has not been clearly demonstrated.
Results: In this study, we found that tetherin of human, simian, bovine or canine origin inhibits the production of infectious prototypic foamy virus (PFV). The inhibition of PFV by human tetherin is counteracted by human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) Vpu. Furthermore, we generated human tetherin transmembrane domain deletion mutant (delTM), glycosyl phosphatidylinositol (GPI) anchor deletion mutant (delGPI), and dimerization and glycosylation deficient mutants. Compared with wild type tetherin, the delTM and delGPI mutants only moderately inhibited PFV production. In contrast, the dimerization and glycosylation deficient mutants inhibit PFV production as efficiently as the wild type tetherin.
Conclusions: These results demonstrate that tetherin inhibits the release and infectivity of PFV, and this inhibition is antagonized by HIV-1 Vpu. Both the transmembrane domain and the GPI anchor of tetherin are important for the inhibition of PFV, whereas the dimerization and the glycosylation of tetherin are dispensable.