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J Biol Chem. 2009 May 15;284(20):13363-72. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M806631200. Epub 2009 Mar 26.

Inhibition of HIV-1 infection and replication by enhancing viral incorporation of innate anti-HIV-1 protein A3G: a non-pathogenic Nef mutant-based anti-HIV strategy.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, Indiana 46206, USA.


APOBEC3G (A3G) is a cellular protein that has been identified as an innate anti-human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) factor. One of the major functions of HIV-1 virion infectivity protein (Vif) protein is to target A3G for ubiquitination/proteasome-mediated degradation and, as a result, evade the host innate defense mechanism. Thus, we wished to devise a strategy to restore the anti-HIV activity of A3G by actively targeting it into HIV-1 virions and countering HIV-1 Vif-targeted degradation. In the current study we performed a series of proof-of-concept experiments for this strategy using as a delivery vehicle of A3G, a derivate of non-pathogenic Nef mutant Nef7 that is capable of being efficiently incorporated into HIV-1 virions. We demonstrate that the Nef7.A3G fusion protein retains several important properties of Nef7; that is, the higher virion incorporation efficiency, no PAK-2 (p21-activated kinase 2) activation, and no CD4 and major histocompatibility complex I down-regulation. Meanwhile, we show that virion incorporated Nef7.A3G possesses the anti-HIV infectivity function of A3G. Moreover, we show that virus-like particle-mediated inverse fusion delivery of Nef7.A3G into HIV-infected CD4+ T lymphocytes leads to potent inhibition of HIV-1 replication in these cells. Taken together, these results indicate that Nef7.A3G can effectively restrict HIV infection and replication by restoring the virion incorporation of A3G, even in the presence of Vif.

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