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Definition of the interacting interfaces of Apobec3G and HIV-1 Vif using MAPPIT mutagenesis analysis


The host restriction factor Apobec3G is a cytidine deaminase that incorporates into HIV-1 virions and interferes with viral replication. The HIV-1 accessory protein Vif subverts Apobec3G by targeting it for proteasomal degradation. We studied the Apobec3G homomerisation and the interaction of Apobec3G with Vif in detail.


We used the MAPPIT two-hybrid technique to analyse the Apobec3G-Apobec3G and the Apobec3G-Vif interactions in intact human cells. MAPPIT is based on the functional complementation of a cytokine receptor signalling pathway.


We propose a model in which Apobec3G N-terminal domains symmetrically interact via a head-to-head interface containing residues 122 RLYYFW 127. Mutations in the head-to-head interface abrogate the Apobec3G-Apobec3G interaction. All mutations that inhibit Apobec3G-Apobec3G binding also inhibit the Apobec3G-Vif interaction, indicating that the head-to head interface plays an important role in the interaction with Vif. Only the D128K, P129A and T32Q mutations specifically affect the Apobec3G-Vif association. In our model, D128, P129 and T32 cluster at the edge of the head-to-head interface, possibly forming a Vif binding site composed of two Apobec3G molecules.


We propose that Vif either binds directly at the Apobec3G head-to-head interface or associates with an RNA-stabilized Apobec3G oligomer.

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Correspondence to Delphine Lavens.

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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Lavens, D., Peelman, F., Heyden, J.V.d. et al. Definition of the interacting interfaces of Apobec3G and HIV-1 Vif using MAPPIT mutagenesis analysis. Retrovirology 7 (Suppl 1), P24 (2010).

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