Physiological Role of APOBEC3

Hui Chen, Salk Institute for Biological Studies
Biomedical and Clinical Sciences

Human cells contain a protein called APOBEC3 that has the ability to interfere with the HIV replication. The protein destroys the genetic material, the DNA, of the virus, by chemically modifying it. Although APOBEC3 has the ability to destroy the virus, HIV produces a protein of its own called VIF that attaches to APOBEC3 to cause its destruction. The proposed project will investigate the properties of APOBEC3 by generating mice that are genetically unable to produce this protein. The mice will be used to study how the gene is turned on and off in the animals and will also be used to determine the function of APOBEC3 in the normal physiology of the mouse. These studies will be helpful for understanding how APOBEC3 functions in the body. This will be important as drugs are developed that work by preventing the HIV-induced destruction of APOBEC3. Such drugs could be potent inhibitors of HIV replication.