Display Settings:


Send to:

Choose Destination
PLoS Pathog. 2013;9(7):e1003496. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1003496. Epub 2013 Jul 18.

Evolutionary toggling of Vpx/Vpr specificity results in divergent recognition of the restriction factor SAMHD1.

Author information

  • 1Division of Human Biology, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington, United States of America.


SAMHD1 is a host restriction factor that blocks the ability of lentiviruses such as HIV-1 to undergo reverse transcription in myeloid cells and resting T-cells. This restriction is alleviated by expression of the lentiviral accessory proteins Vpx and Vpr (Vpx/Vpr), which target SAMHD1 for proteasome-mediated degradation. However, the precise determinants within SAMHD1 for recognition by Vpx/Vpr remain unclear. Here we show that evolution of Vpx/Vpr in primate lentiviruses has caused the interface between SAMHD1 and Vpx/Vpr to alter during primate lentiviral evolution. Using multiple HIV-2 and SIV Vpx proteins, we show that Vpx from the HIV-2 and SIVmac lineage, but not Vpx from the SIVmnd2 and SIVrcm lineage, require the C-terminus of SAMHD1 for interaction, ubiquitylation, and degradation. On the other hand, the N-terminus of SAMHD1 governs interactions with Vpx from SIVmnd2 and SIVrcm, but has little effect on Vpx from HIV-2 and SIVmac. Furthermore, we show here that this difference in SAMHD1 recognition is evolutionarily dynamic, with the importance of the N- and C-terminus for interaction of SAMHD1 with Vpx and Vpr toggling during lentiviral evolution. We present a model to explain how the head-to-tail conformation of SAMHD1 proteins favors toggling of the interaction sites by Vpx/Vpr during this virus-host arms race. Such drastic functional divergence within a lentiviral protein highlights a novel plasticity in the evolutionary dynamics of viral antagonists for restriction factors during lentiviral adaptation to its hosts.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Images from this publication.See all images (7)Free text

Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3
Figure 4
Figure 5
Figure 6
Figure 7

Publication Types, MeSH Terms, Substances, Grant Support

Publication Types

MeSH Terms


Grant Support

PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central Icon for Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Ctr Arnold Library
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk