Table of Contents
Molecular Biology International
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 424768, 9 pages
Review Article

Restriction of Retroviral Replication by Tetherin/BST-2

Department of Pediatrics, Emory University and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, 2015 Uppergate Drive, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA

Received 27 March 2012; Accepted 26 May 2012

Academic Editor: Abraham Brass

Copyright © 2012 Jason Hammonds et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Tetherin/BST-2 is an important host restriction factor that limits the replication of HIV and other enveloped viruses. Tetherin is a type II membrane glycoprotein with a very unusual domain structure that allows it to engage budding virions and retain them on the plasma membrane of infected cells. Following the initial report identifying tetherin as the host cell factor targeted by the HIV-1 Vpu gene, knowledge of the molecular, structural, and cellular biology of tetherin has rapidly advanced. This paper summarizes the discovery and impact of tetherin biology on the HIV field, with a focus on recent advances in understanding its structure and function. The relevance of tetherin to replication and spread of other retroviruses is also reviewed. Tetherin is a unique host restriction factor that is likely to continue to provide new insights into host-virus interactions and illustrates well the varied ways by which host organisms defend against viral pathogens.