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J Biol Chem. 2007 Apr 20;282(16):11667-75. Epub 2007 Feb 1.

Virion-associated uracil DNA glycosylase-2 and apurinic/apyrimidinic endonuclease are involved in the degradation of APOBEC3G-edited nascent HIV-1 DNA.

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Center for Human Virology, Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107, USA.


Cellular cytidine deaminases APOBEC3 family is a group of potent inhibitors for many exogenous and endogenous retroviruses. It has been demonstrated that they induce G to A hypermutations in the nascent retroviral DNA, resulting from the cytosine (C) to uracil (U) conversions in minus-stranded viral DNA. In this report, we have demonstrated that the result of C to U conversion in minus-stranded DNA of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) could trigger a degradation of nascent viral DNA mediated by uracil DNA glycosylases-2 (UNG2) and apurinic/apyrimidinic endonuclease (APE). Since antiviral activity of APOBEC3G is partially affected by UNG2 inhibitor Ugi or UNG2-specific short-interfering RNA in virus-producing cells but not target cells, the virion-associated UNG2 most likely mediates this process. Interestingly, as APE-specific short-interfering RNA can also partially inhibit the anti-HIV-1 activity of APOBEC3G in virus-producing cells but not in target cells and APE molecules can be detected within HIV-1 virions, it seems that the required APE is also virion-associated. Furthermore, the in vitro cleavage experiment using uracil-containing single-stranded DNA as a template has demonstrated that the uracil-excising catalytic activity of virion-associated UNG2 can remove dU from the uracil-containing viral DNA and leave an abasic site, which could be further cleaved by virion-associated APE. Based upon our observations, we propose that the degradation of APOBEC3G-edited viral DNA mediated by virion-associated UNG2 and APE during or after reverse transcription could be partially responsible for the potent anti-HIV-1 effect by APOBEC3G in the absence of vif.

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