HIV-1 exploits CLASP2 to induce microtubule stabilization and facilitate virus trafficking to the nucleus

Sahana Mitra, Shanmugapriya Shanmugapriya, Eveline Santos da Silva, Mojgan H. Naghavi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) exploits a number of specialized microtubule (MT) plus-end tracking proteins (commonly known as +TIPs) to induce the formation of stable microtubules soon after virus entry and promote early stages of infection. However, given their functional diversity, the nature of the +TIPs involved and how they facilitate HIV-1 infection remains poorly understood. Here, we identify cytoplasmic linker-associated protein 2 (CLASP2), a +TIP that captures cortical MT plus ends to enable filament stabilization, as a host factor that enables HIV-1 to induce MT stabilization and promote early infection in natural target cell types. Using fixed- and live-cell imaging in human microglia cells, we further show that CLASP2 is required for the trafficking of incoming HIV-1 particles carrying wild-type (WT) envelope. Moreover, both WT CLASP2 and a CLASP2 mutant lacking its C-terminal domain, which mediates its interaction with several host effector proteins, bind to intact HIV-1 cores or in vitro-assembled capsid-nucleocapsid (CA-NC) complexes. However, unlike WT CLASP2, the CLASP2 C-terminal mutant is unable to induce MT stabilization or promote early HIV-1 infection. Our findings identify CLASP2 as a new host cofactor that utilizes distinct regulatory domains to bind incoming HIV-1 particles and facilitate trafficking of incoming viral cores through MT stabilization. IMPORTANCE While microtubules (MTs) have long been known to be important for delivery of incoming HIV-1 cores to the nucleus, how the virus engages and exploits these filaments remains poorly understood. Our previous work revealed the importance of highly specialized MT regulators that belong to a family called plus-end tracking proteins (+TIPs) in facilitating early stages of infection. These +TIPs perform various functions, such as engaging cargos for transport or engaging peripheral actin to stabilize MTs, suggesting several family members have the potential to contribute to infection in different ways. Here, we reveal that cytoplasmic linker-associated protein 2 (CLASP2), a key regulator of cortical capture and stabilization of MTs, interacts with incoming HIV-1 particles, and we identify a distinct C-terminal domain in CLASP2 that promotes both MT stabilization and early infection. Our findings identify a new +TIP acting as a host cofactor that facilitates early stages of viral infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere00404-20
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020


  • +TIPs
  • CLASP2
  • Capsid
  • HIV-1
  • Microtubules
  • Trafficking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Insect Science
  • Virology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology


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