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Gene. 2007 Apr 1;390(1-2):199-205. Epub 2006 Sep 27.

Selective inhibition of Alu retrotransposition by APOBEC3G.

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  • 1Department of Human Genetics, The University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA. ahulme@umich.edu


The non-LTR retrotransposon LINE-1 (L1) comprises approximately 17% of the human genome, and the L1-encoded proteins can function in trans to mediate the retrotransposition of non-autonomous retrotransposons (i.e., Alu and probably SVA elements) and cellular mRNAs to generate processed pseudogenes. Here, we have examined the effect of APOBEC3G and APOBEC3F, cytidine deaminases that inhibit Vif-deficient HIV-1 replication, on Alu retrotransposition and other L1-mediated retrotransposition processes. We demonstrate that APOBEC3G selectively inhibits Alu retrotransposition in an ORF1p-independent manner. An active cytidine deaminase site is not required for the inhibition of Alu retrotransposition and the resultant integration events lack G to A or C to T hypermutation. These data demonstrate a differential restriction of L1 and Alu retrotransposition by APOBEC3G, and suggest that the Alu ribonucleoprotein complex may be targeted by APOBEC3G.

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