HM1.24 (also known as BST-2, CD317, and Tetherin) is a type II single-pass transmembrane glycoprotein, which traverses membranes using an N-terminal transmembrane helix and is anchored in membrane lipid rafts via a C-terminal glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI). HM1.24 plays a role in diverse cellular functions, including cell signaling, immune modulation, and malignancy. In addition, it also functions as an interferon-induced cellular antiviral restriction factor that inhibits the replication and release of diverse enveloped viruses, and which is counteracted by Vpu, an HIV-1 accessory protein. Vpu induces down-regulation and ubiquitin conjugation to the cytoplasmic domain of HM1.24. However, evidence for ubiquitination site(s) of HM1.24 remains controversial. We demonstrated that HM1.24 is constitutively poly-ubiquitinated at the N-terminal cytoplasmic domain, and that the mutation of all potential ubiquitination sites, including serine, threonine, cysteine, and lysine in the cytoplasmic domain of HM1.24, does not affect the ubiquitination of HM1.24. We further demonstrated that although a GPI anchor is necessary and sufficient for HM1.24 antiviral activities and virion-trapping, the deleted mutant of GPI does not influence the ubiquitination of HM1.24. These results suggest that the lipid raft localization of HM1.24 is not a prerequisite for the ubiquitination. Collectively, our findings demonstrate that the ubiquitination of HM1.24 occurs at the N-terminal amino acid in the cytoplasmic domain and indicate that the constitutive ubiquitination machinery of HM1.24 may differ from the Vpu-induced machinery.
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