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J Virol. 2007 Dec;81(24):13346-53. Epub 2007 Oct 10.

Enzymatically active APOBEC3G is required for efficient inhibition of human immunodeficiency virus type 1.

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  • 1Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology, Viral Biochemistry Section, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-0460, USA.


APOBEC3G (APO3G) is a cellular cytidine deaminase with potent antiviral activity. Initial studies of the function of APO3G demonstrated extensive mutation of the viral genome, suggesting a model in which APO3G's antiviral activity is due to hypermutation of the viral genome. Recent studies, however, found that deaminase-defective APO3G mutants transiently expressed in virus-producing cells exhibited significant antiviral activity, suggesting that the antiviral activity of APO3G could be dissociated from its deaminase activity. To directly compare the antiviral activities of wild-type (wt) and deaminase-defective APO3G, we used two approaches: (i) we titrated wt and deaminase-defective APO3G in transient-transfection studies to achieve similar levels of virus-associated APO3G and (ii) we constructed stable cell lines and selected clones expressing comparable amounts of wt and deaminase-defective APO3G. Viruses produced under these conditions were tested for viral infectivity. The results from the two approaches were consistent and suggested that the antiviral activity of deaminase-defective APO3G was significantly lower than that of wt APO3G. We conclude that efficient inhibition of vif-defective human immunodeficiency virus type 1 requires catalytically active APO3G.

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