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Microbes Infect. 2008 Aug-Sep;10(10-11):1142-9. doi: 10.1016/j.micinf.2008.06.003. Epub 2008 Jun 18.

Identification of amino acid residues in HIV-1 Vif critical for binding and exclusion of APOBEC3G/F.

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Department of Virology, Institute of Health Biosciences, The University of Tokushima Graduate School, Tokushima 770-8503, Japan.


To define a region(s) in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) Vif that involves binding to its target APOBEC3G (A3G), we have generated a series of site-specific proviral vif mutants. Of 30 mutants examined, 15 did not grow at all or grew more poorly than wild-type virus in non-permissive cells. Eight clones with N-terminal mutations located outside of the HCCH motif and BC-box, which are known to be directly crucial for the degradation of A3G, were chosen from these growth-defective mutants and mainly analyzed in detail for functional activity of their mutant Vif proteins. By single-cycle replication and immunoprecipitation/immunoblotting analyses, mutants designated W21A, S32A, W38A, Y40A, and H43A were demonstrated to hardly or poorly bind to and neutralize A3G. Upon transfection, these mutants produced progeny virions containing much more A3G than wild-type clone. Interestingly, while mutants designated E76A and W79A acted normally to inactivate A3G, they were found to exhibit a Vif-defective phenotype against A3F. Another unique mutant designated Y69A incompetent against both of A3G/F was also identified. Our results here have indicated that at least two distinct regions in the N-terminal half of HIV-1 Vif are critical for binding and exclusion of A3G/F.

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