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Cell. 2003 Jul 11;114(1):21-31.

Species-specific exclusion of APOBEC3G from HIV-1 virions by Vif.

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  • 1Infectious Disease Laboratory, The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, 10010 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


The HIV-1 accessory protein Vif (virion infectivity factor) is required for the production of infectious virions by CD4(+) lymphocytes. Vif facilitates particle infectivity by blocking the inhibitory activity of APOBEC3G (CEM15), a virion-encapsidated cellular protein that deaminates minus-strand reverse transcript cytosines to uracils. We report that HIV-1 Vif forms a complex with human APOBEC3G that prevents its virion encapsidation. HIV-1 Vif did not efficiently form a complex with mouse APOBEC3G. Vif dramatically reduced the amount of human APOBEC3G encapsidated in HIV-1 virions but did not prevent encapsidation of mouse or AGM APOBEC3G. As a result, these enzymes are potent inhibitors of wild-type HIV-1 replication. The species-specificity of this interaction may play a role in restricting HIV-1 infection to humans. Together these findings suggest that therapeutic intervention that either induced APOBEC3G or blocked its interaction with Vif could be clinically beneficial.

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