Nature 451, 425-430 (24 January 2008) | doi:10.1038/nature06553; Received 14 November 2007; Accepted 17 December 2007; Published online 16 January 2008; Corrected 24 January 2008

Tetherin inhibits retrovirus release and is antagonized by HIV-1 Vpu

Stuart J. D. Neil1, Trinity Zang1 & Paul D. Bieniasz1

  1. Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center and Laboratory of Retrovirology, The Rockefeller University, 455 First Avenue, New York, New York 10016, USA

Correspondence to: Paul D. Bieniasz1 Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to P.D.B (Email:


Human cells possess an antiviral activity that inhibits the release of retrovirus particles, and other enveloped virus particles, and is antagonized by the HIV-1 accessory protein, Vpu. This antiviral activity can be constitutively expressed or induced by interferon-alpha, and it consists of protein-based tethers, which we term 'tetherins', that cause retention of fully formed virions on infected cell surfaces. Using deductive constraints and gene expression analyses, we identify CD317 (also called BST2 or HM1.24), a membrane protein of previously unknown function, as a tetherin. Specifically, CD317 expression correlated with, and induced, a requirement for Vpu during HIV-1 and murine leukaemia virus particle release. Furthermore, in cells where HIV-1 virion release requires Vpu expression, depletion of CD317 abolished this requirement. CD317 caused retention of virions on cell surfaces and, after endocytosis, in CD317-positive compartments. Vpu co-localized with CD317 and inhibited these effects. Inhibition of Vpu function and consequent mobilization of tetherin's antiviral activity is a potential therapeutic strategy in HIV/AIDS.