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J Biol Chem. 2004 Apr 9;279(15):14481-3. Epub 2004 Feb 13.

A single amino acid determinant governs the species-specific sensitivity of APOBEC3G to Vif action.

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Department of Microbiology and Molecular Medicine and "Frontiers in Genetics Research Program," CMU, 1 rue Michel-Servet, 1211 Geneva 4, Switzerland.


APOBEC3G (also known as CEM15) is an innate intracellular antiretroviral factor that is counteracted by the Vif protein of lentiviruses. While APOBEC3G orthologues from several species are active against a broad range of retroviruses, given Vif proteins have a narrow spectrum of activity. For instance, HIV-1 Vif efficiently blocks APOBEC3G from human but not African green monkey (AGM), whereas the reverse is observed with SIV(AGM) Vif. Here, we demonstrate that a single amino acid at position 128 of human and AGM APOBEC3G governs the virus-specific sensitivity of these proteins to Vif-mediated inhibition. Furthermore, we show that this phenotype correlates with the ability of Vif to bind APOBEC3G and interfere with its incorporation into virions. These results shed light on an important determinant of the tropism of primate lentiviruses.

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