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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The regulation of primate immunodeficiency virus infectivity by Vif is cell species restricted: a role for Vif in determining virus host range and cross-species transmission.

The primate immunodeficiency virus Vif proteins are essential for replication in appropriate cultured cell systems and, presumably, for the establishment of productive infections in vivo. We describe experiments that define patterns of complementation between human and simian immunodeficiency virus (HIV and SIV) Vif proteins and address the determinants that underlie functional specificity. Using human cells as virus producers, it was found that the HIV-1 Vif protein could modulate the infectivity of HIV-1 itself, HIV-2 and SIV isolated from African green monkeys (SIVAGM). In contrast, the Vif proteins of SIVAGM and SIV isolated from Sykes' monkeys (SIVSYK) were inactive for all HIV and SIV substrates in human cells even though, at least for the SIVAGM protein, robust activity could be demonstrated in cognate African green monkey cells. These observations suggest that species-specific interactions between Vif and virus-producing cells, as opposed to between Vif and virus components, may govern the functional consequences of Vif expression in terms of inducing virion infectivity. The finding that the replication of murine leukemia virus could also be stimulated by HIV-1 Vif expression in human cells further supported this notion. We speculate that species restrictions to Vif function may have contributed to primate immunodeficiency virus zoonosis.[1]


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