CEM15/APOBEC3G is a cellular protein required for resistance to infection by virion infectivity factor (Vif)-deficient human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Here, using a murine leukemia virus (MLV)-based system, we provide evidence that CEM15/APOBEC3G is a DNA deaminase that is incorporated into virions during viral production and subsequently triggers massive deamination of deoxycytidine to deoxyuridine within the retroviral minus (first)-strand cDNA, thus providing a probable trigger for viral destruction. Furthermore, HIV Vif can protect MLV from this CEM15/APOBEC3G-dependent restriction. These findings imply that targeted DNA deamination is a major strategy of innate immunity to retroviruses and likely also contributes to the sequence variation observed in many viruses (including HIV).
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)