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J Gen Virol. 2012 Mar;93(Pt 3):565-76. doi: 10.1099/vir.0.038919-0. Epub 2011 Dec 14.

The innate antiviral factor APOBEC3G targets replication of measles, mumps and respiratory syncytial viruses.

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Institute for Virology and Immunobiology, University of Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany.


The cytidine deaminase APOBEC3G (apolipoprotein B mRNA-editing enzyme-catalytic polypeptide 3G; A3G) exerts antiviral activity against retroviruses, hepatitis B virus, adeno-associated virus and transposable elements. We assessed whether the negative-strand RNA viruses measles, mumps and respiratory syncytial might be affected by A3G, and found that their infectivity was reduced by 1-2 logs (90-99 %) in A3G overexpressing Vero cells, and in T-cell lines expressing A3G at physiological levels. Viral RNA was co-precipitated with HA-tagged A3G and could be amplified by RT-PCR. Interestingly, A3G reduced viral transcription and protein expression in infected cells by 50-70 %, and caused an increased mutation frequency of 0.95 mutations per 1000 nt in comparison to the background level of 0.22/1000. The observed mutations were not specific for A3G [cytidine to uridine (C→U) or guanine to adenine (G→A) hypermutations], nor specific for ADAR (adenosine deaminase acting on RNA, A→G and U→C transitions, with preference for next neighbour-nucleotides U = A>C>G). In addition, A3G mutants with inactivated catalytic deaminase (H257R and E259Q) were inhibitory, indicating that the deaminase activity is not required for the observed antiviral activity. In combination, impaired transcription and increased mutation frequencies are sufficient to cause the observed reduction in viral infectivity and eliminate virus replication within a few passages in A3G-expressing cells.

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