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Virology. 2008 Mar 1;372(1):147-56. Epub 2007 Nov 26.

Human immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV-1) virion infectivity factor (Vif) is part of reverse transcription complexes and acts as an accessory factor for reverse transcription.

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Infectious Diseases Laboratories, Institute of Medical and Veterinary Science, Adelaide, Australia.


Virion infectivity factor (Vif) facilitates HIV infection by counteracting APOBEC3G late in replication in virus-producer cells. Here, we show that early after infection of new target cells Vif is part of the HIV reverse transcription machinery and acts as an accessory factor for reverse transcription. Vif protein was present in gradient fractions containing reverse transcription complexes (RTCs), and anti-Vif antibody immunoprecipitated HIV reverse transcription products from these gradient fractions. To investigate a role for Vif in RTCs independent of APOBEC3G, we created an intracellular environment that would restrict reverse transcription by pre-treating permissive target cells with 5-Fluoro 2-deoxyuridine, a thymidylate synthetase inhibitor, prior to infection with virus from permissive cells. Infectivity assays and quantitation of reverse transcription products demonstrated that replication of HIV lacking Vif was inhibited to a greater degree than wild type, without concurrent mutation of reverse transcription products, suggesting compromised reverse transcription in the absence of Vif.

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