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Virology. 2009 Mar 15;385(2):455-63. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2008.11.051. Epub 2009 Jan 15.

Enhanced replication and pathogenesis of Moloney murine leukemia virus in mice defective in the murine APOBEC3 gene.

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Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, and Cancer Research Institute, University of California, Irvine, California 92697-3905, USA.


Human APOBEC3G (hA3G), a member of the AID/APOBEC family of deaminases, is a restriction factor for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). In the absence of the viral Vif protein hA3G is packaged into virions and during reverse transcription in a recipient cell it deaminates cytosines, leading to G-->A hypermutation and inactivation of the viral DNA. Unlike humans, who carry seven APOBEC3 genes, mice only carry one, mA3. Thus the role of mA3 in restriction of retroviral infection could be studied in mA3 -/- knockout mice, where the gene is inactivated. M-MuLV-infected mA3 -/- mice showed substantially higher levels of infection at very early times compared to wild-type mice (ca. 2 logs at 0-10 days), particularly in the bone marrow and spleen. Restriction of M-MuLV infection was studied ex vivo in primary bone marrow-derived dendritic cells (BMDCs) that express or lack mA3, using an M-MuLV-based retroviral vector expressing enhanced jellyfish green fluorescent protein (EGFP). The results indicated that mA3 within the virions as well as mA3 in the recipient cell contribute to resistance to infection in BMDCs. Finally, M-MuLV-infected mA3 +/+ mice developed leukemia more slowly compared to animals lacking one or both copies of mA3 although the resulting disease was similar (T-lymphoma). These studies indicate that mA3 restricts replication and pathogenesis of M-MuLV in vivo.

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