Journal of virology 2017 03 22() pii 10.1128/JVI.00250-17
The interplay between viral and host proteins has been well studied to elucidate virus-host interactions and their relevance to virulence. Mammalian genes encode apolipoprotein B mRNA-editing enzyme catalytic polypeptide-like 3 (APOBEC3) proteins, which act as intrinsic restriction factors against lentiviruses. To overcome APOBEC3-mediated anti-viral actions, lentiviruses have evolutionarily acquired an accessory protein, viral infectivity factor (Vif), and Vif degrades host APOBEC3 proteins via a ubiquitin/proteasome-dependent pathway. Although Vif-APOBEC3 interaction and its evolutionary significance, particularly those of primate lentiviruses (including HIV) and primates (including humans), have been well investigated, those of non-primate lentiviruses and non-primates are poorly understood. Moreover, the factors that determine lentiviral pathogenicity remain unclear. Here, we focus on feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), a pathogenic lentivirus in domestic cats, and the interaction between FIV Vif and feline APOBEC3 in terms of viral virulence and evolution. We reveal the significantly reduced diversity of FIV subtype B compared to that of other subtypes, which may associate with the low pathogenicity of this subtype. We also demonstrate that FIV subtype B Vif is less active with regards to feline APOBEC3 degradation. More intriguingly, we further reveal that FIV protease cleaves feline APOBEC3 in released virions. Taken together, our findings provide evidence that a lentivirus encodes two types of anti-APOBEC3 factors, Vif and viral protease.IMPORTANCE During the history of mammalian evolution, mammals co-evolved with retroviruses, including lentiviruses. All pathogenic lentiviruses, excluding equine infectious anemia virus, have acquired the vif gene via evolution to combat APOBEC3 proteins, which are intrinsic restriction factors against exogenous lentiviruses. Here we demonstrate that FIV, a pathogenic lentivirus in domestic cats, antagonizes feline APOBEC3 proteins by both Vif and a viral protease. Furthermore, the Vif proteins of an FIV subtype (subtype B) have attenuated their anti-APOBEC3 activity through evolution. Our findings can be a clue to elucidate the complicated evolutionary processes by which lentiviruses adapt to mammals.