APOBEC3 (A3) family proteins are DNA cytosine deaminases recognized for contributing to HIV-1 restriction and mutation. Prior studies have demonstrated that A3D, A3F, and A3G enzymes elicit a robust anti-HIV-1 effect in cell cultures and in humanized mouse models. Human A3H is polymorphic and can be categorized into three phenotypes: stable, intermediate, and unstable. However, the anti-viral effect of endogenous A3H in vivo has yet to be examined. Here we utilize a hematopoietic stem cell-transplanted humanized mouse model and demonstrate that stable A3H robustly affects HIV-1 fitness in vivo. In contrast, the selection pressure mediated by intermediate A3H is relaxed. Intriguingly, viral genomic RNA sequencing reveled that HIV-1 frequently adapts to better counteract stable A3H during replication in humanized mice. Molecular phylogenetic analyses and mathematical modeling suggest that stable A3H may be a critical factor in human-to-human viral transmission. Taken together, this study provides evidence that stable variants of A3H impose selective pressure on HIV-1.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology