Oligomerization transforms human APOBEC3G from an efficient enzyme to a slowly dissociating nucleic acid-binding protein

Kathy R. Chaurasiya, Micah J. McCauley, Wei Wang, Dominic F. Qualley, Tiyun Wu, Shingo Kitamura, Hylkje Geertsema, Denise S.B. Chan, Amber Hertz, Yasumasa Iwatani, Judith G. Levin, Karin Musier-Forsyth, Ioulia F Rouzina, Mark C. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


The human APOBEC3 proteins are a family of DNA-editing enzymes that play an important role in the innate immune response against retroviruses and retrotransposons. APOBEC3G is a member of this family that inhibits HIV-1 replication in the absence of the viral infectivity factor Vif. Inhibition of HIV replication occurs by both deamination of viral single-stranded DNA and a deamination-independent mechanism. Efficient deamination requires rapid binding to and dissociation from ssDNA. However, a relatively slow dissociation rate is required for the proposed deaminase-independent roadblock mechanism in which APOBEC3G binds the viral template strand and blocks reverse transcriptase- catalysed DNA elongation. Here, we show that APOBEC3G initially binds ssDNA with rapid on-off rates and subsequently converts to a slowly dissociating mode. In contrast, an oligomerization-deficient APOBEC3G mutant did not exhibit a slow off rate. We propose that catalytically active monomers or dimers slowly oligomerize on the viral genome and inhibit reverse transcription.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)28-33
Number of pages6
JournalNature Chemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank D. Pollpeter, M.H. Malim and D. Rueda for valuable discussions, and M.F. Goodman for his generous gift of the F126A/W127A mutant clone. This work was supported in part by the National Institutes of Health (GM072462 to M.C.W. and GM065056 to K.M-F.) and the National Science Foundation (MCB-1243883 to M.C.W.), the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS; KAKENHI_24590568 to Y.I.), and in part by funds from the NIH Intramural Research Program (NICHD; to J.G.L.). K.R.C. was supported by the NSF IGERT Program (DGE-0504331).


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