Retroviruses have several characteristic structural and catalytic proteins, one such auxiliary protein is a viral protein U (Vpu) which enhances virion release from human cells and also involved in the degradation of CD4, the cellular surface receptor of HIV-1. The Vpu has no homolog in less pathogenic HIV-2 virus. Vpu is an 81 amino acid class I membrane integral protein that is unique to human and simian immunodeficiency virus isolated from Chimpanzee and few other monkey species. The 16kDa protein Vpu protein consist of an N-terminal hydrophobic membrane anchor of 27 amino acids and a charged C-terminal hydrophilic domain of 54 amino acids that extents to the cytoplasm. The cytoplasmic domain has a conserved dual serine phosphorylation site (S52 GXXand S56 motif) that is phosphorylated by casein kinase II.
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