- Functions, structure, and read-through alternative splicing of feline APOBEC3 genes (2008)
- Background Over the past years a variety of host restriction genes have been identified in human and mammals that modulate retrovirus infectivity, replication, assembly, and/or cross-species transmission. Among these host-encoded restriction factors, the APOBEC3 (A3; apolipoprotein B mRNA-editing catalytic polypeptide 3) proteins are potent inhibitors of retroviruses and retrotransposons. While primates encode seven of these genes (A3A to A3H), rodents carry only a single A3 gene. Results Here we identified and characterized several A3 genes in the genome of domestic cat (Felis catus) by analyzing the genomic A3 locus. The cat genome presents one A3H gene and three very similar A3C genes (a-c), probably generated after two consecutive gene duplications. In addition to these four one-domain A3 proteins, a fifth A3, designated A3CH, is expressed by read-through alternative splicing. Specific feline A3 proteins selectively inactivated only defined genera of feline retroviruses: Bet-deficient feline foamy virus was mainly inactivated by feA3Ca, feA3Cb, and feA3Cc, while feA3H and feA3CH were only weakly active. The infectivity of Vif-deficient feline immunodeficiency virus and feline leukemia virus was reduced only by feA3H and feA3CH, but not by any of the feA3Cs. Within Felidae, A3C sequences show significant adaptive selection, but unexpectedly, the A3H sequences present more sites that are under purifying selection. Conclusion Our data support a complex evolutionary history of expansion, divergence, selection and individual extinction of antiviral A3 genes that parallels the early evolution of Placentalia, becoming more intricate in taxa in which the arms race between host and retroviruses is harsher.
- Restriction of HIV-1 replication in monocytes is abolished by Vpx of SIVsmmPBj (2009)
- Background: Human primary monocytes are refractory to infection with the human immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV-1) or transduction with HIV-1-derived vectors. In contrast, efficient single round transduction of monocytes is mediated by vectors derived from simian immunodeficiency virus of sooty mangabeys (SIVsmmPBj), depending on the presence of the viral accessory protein Vpx. Methods and Findings: Here we analyzed whether Vpx of SIVsmmPBj is sufficient for transduction of primary monocytes by HIV-1-derived vectors. To enable incorporation of PBj Vpx into HIV-1 vector particles, a HA-Vpr/Vpx fusion protein was generated. Supplementation of HIV-1 vector particles with this fusion protein was not sufficient to facilitate transduction of human monocytes. However, monocyte transduction with HIV-1-derived vectors was significantly enhanced after delivery of Vpx proteins by virus-like particles (VLPs) derived from SIVsmmPBj. Moreover, pre-incubation with Vpx-containing VLPs restored replication capacity of infectious HIV-1 in human monocytes. In monocytes of non-human primates, single-round transduction with HIV-1 vectors was enabled. Conclusion: Vpx enhances transduction of primary human and even non-human monocytes with HIV-1-derived vectors, only if delivered in the background of SIVsmmPBj-derived virus-like particles. Thus, for accurate Vpx function the presence of SIVsmmPBj capsid proteins might be required. Vpx is essential to overcome a block of early infection steps in primary monocytes.
- Selection of functional human antibodies from retroviral display libraries (2005)
- Antibody library technology represents a powerful tool for the discovery and design of antibodies with high affinity and specificity for their targets. To extend the technique to the expression and selection of antibody libraries in an eukaryotic environment, we provide here a proof of concept that retroviruses can be engineered for the display and selection of variable single-chain fragment (scFv) libraries. A retroviral library displaying the repertoire obtained after a single round of selection of a human synthetic scFv phage display library on laminin was generated. For selection, antigen-bound virus was efficiently recovered by an overlay with cells permissive for infection. This approach allowed more than 10(3)-fold enrichment of antigen binders in a single selection cycle. After three selection cycles, several scFvs were recovered showing similar laminin-binding activities but improved expression levels in mammalian cells as compared with a laminin-specific scFv selected by the conventional phage display approach. Thus, translational problems that occur when phage-selected antibodies have to be transferred onto mammalian expression systems to exert their therapeutic potential can be avoided by the use of retroviral display libraries.
- Fusoselect: cell-cell fusion activity engineered by directed evolution of a retroviral glycoprotein (2006)
- Membrane fusion plays a key role in many biological processes including vesicle trafficking, synaptic transmission, fertilization or cell entry of enveloped viruses. As a common feature the fusion process is mediated by distinct membrane proteins. We describe here ‘Fusoselect’, a universal procedure allowing the identification and engineering of molecular determinants for cell–cell fusion-activity by directed evolution. The system couples cell–cell fusion with the release of retroviral particles, but can principally be applied to membrane proteins of non-viral origin as well. As a model system, we chose a γ-retroviral envelope protein, which naturally becomes fusion-active through proteolytic processing by the viral protease. The selection process evolved variants that, in contrast to the parental protein, mediated cell–cell fusion in absence of the viral protease. Detailed analysis of the variants revealed molecular determinants for fusion competence in the cytoplasmic tail (CT) of retroviral Env proteins and demonstrated the power of Fusoselect.