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J Biol Chem. 2010 Dec 10;285(50):39380-91. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110.178582. Epub 2010 Oct 5.

Ribonucleoside triphosphates as substrate of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 reverse transcriptase in human macrophages.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York 14642, USA.


We biochemically simulated HIV-1 DNA polymerization in physiological nucleotide pools found in two HIV-1 target cell types: terminally differentiated/non-dividing macrophages and activated/dividing CD4(+) T cells. Quantitative tandem mass spectrometry shows that macrophages harbor 22-320-fold lower dNTP concentrations and a greater disparity between ribonucleoside triphosphate (rNTP) and dNTP concentrations than dividing target cells. A biochemical simulation of HIV-1 reverse transcription revealed that rNTPs are efficiently incorporated into DNA in the macrophage but not in the T cell environment. This implies that HIV-1 incorporates rNTPs during viral replication in macrophages and also predicts that rNTP chain terminators lacking a 3'-OH should inhibit HIV-1 reverse transcription in macrophages. Indeed, 3'-deoxyadenosine inhibits HIV-1 proviral DNA synthesis in human macrophages more efficiently than in CD4(+) T cells. This study reveals that the biochemical landscape of HIV-1 replication in macrophages is unique and that ribonucleoside chain terminators may be a new class of anti-HIV-1 agents specifically targeting viral macrophage infection.

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