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Virology. 2004 Oct 25;328(2):163-8.

Specific packaging of APOBEC3G into HIV-1 virions is mediated by the nucleocapsid domain of the gag polyprotein precursor.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.


In cells infected by HIV-1 mutants lacking a functional Vif protein, APOBEC3G is specifically packaged into progeny virions and then interferes with the process of virus infection. Here, we show that incorporation of APOBEC3G into HIV-1 virions is mediated by the specific interaction of APOBEC3G with the carboxy-terminal nucleocapsid/p6 domain of the Gag polyprotein precursor. As a result, HIV-1 virus-like particles that lack the nucleocapsid domain fail to package APOBEC3G. Surprisingly, RNA was also found to be essential for formation of the nucleocapsid--APOBEC3G complex in vitro, thus raising the possibility that RNA may form a bridge between these two proteins.

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