A comparison of two single-stranded DNA binding models by mutational analysis of APOBEC3G

Keisuke Shindo, Ming Li, Phillip J. Gross, William L. Brown, Elena Harjes, Yongjian Lu, Hiroshi Matsuo, Reuben S. Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


APOBEC3G is the best known of several DNA cytosine deaminases that function to inhibit the replication of parasitic genetic elements including the lentivirus HIV. Several high-resolution structures of the APOBEC3G catalytic domain have been generated, but none reveal how this enzyme binds to substrate single-stranded DNA. Here, we constructed a panel of APOBEC3G amino acid substitution mutants and performed a series of biochemical, genetic, and structural assays to distinguish between 'Brim' and 'Kink' models for single-strand DNA binding. Each model predicts distinct sets of interactions between surface arginines and negatively charged phosphates in the DNA backbone. Concordant with both models, changing the conserved arginine at position 313 to glutamate abolished both catalytic and restriction activities. In support of the Brim model, arginine to glutamate substitutions at positions 213, 215, and 320 also compromised these APOBEC3G activities. Arginine to glutamate substitutions at Kink model residues 374 and 376 had smaller effects. These observations were supported by A3G catalytic domain-ssDNA chemical shift perturbation experiments. The overall data set is most consistent with the Brim model for single-stranded DNA binding by APOBEC3G.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)260-276
Number of pages17
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • DNA cytosine deamination
  • HIV restriction
  • Single-stranded DNA
  • Structure-guided mutagenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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