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J Biol Chem. 2005 May 13;280(19):18573-8. Epub 2005 Mar 21.

Ubiquitination of APOBEC3G by an HIV-1 Vif-Cullin5-Elongin B-Elongin C complex is essential for Vif function.

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  • 1Department of Hematology and Oncology, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University, 54 Shogoin-Kawaracho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8507, Japan.


The human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) virion infectivity factor (Vif) overcomes the antiviral activity of APOBEC3G to protect HIV-1 DNA from G-to-A hypermutation. Vif targets APOBEC3G for ubiquitination and proteasomal degradation by forming an SCF-like E3 ubiquitin ligase complex composed of Cullin5, Elongin B, and Elongin C (Vif-BC-Cul5) through a novel SOCS-box motif. In this paper, we have established an in vitro ubiquitin conjugation assay with purified Vif-BC-Cul5 complex and reported that the Vif-BC-Cul5 complex could function as an E3 ligase for APOBEC3G in vitro. A Vif-BC-Cul5 complex promotes the in vitro ubiquitination of the wild type, APOBEC3G but not that of D128K mutant, which does not interact with Vif. We have also investigated several loss-of-function Vif mutants. One mutant, SLQ144/146AAA, lost its activity on APOBEC3G because it could not form a complex due to mutations in SOCS-box motif. Other mutants, C114S and C133S, also lost their activity because of loss of the E3 ligase activity of a Vif-BC-Cul5 complex, although these mutants retained the ability to bind to APOBEC3G as well as Cul5 complex. These findings suggest that the E3 ubiquitin ligase activity of the Vif-BC-Cul5 complex is essential for Vif function against APOBEC3G.

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