APOBEC-mediated cytidine deamination of HIV-1 genomes during reverse transcription has been shown to be a potent mechanism of host restriction for HIV-1 infection ex vivo and in vitro. However, this defense system can be overcome by the viral protein Vif. Unlike other mechanisms of host restriction, the APOCEC-Vif interaction leaves an imprint on integrated proviruses in the form of G→A hypermutation. In the current work we systematically studied levels, contexts, and patterns of HIV-1 hypermutation in vivo. The analysis of 24 full-genome HIV-1 sequences retrieved from primary PBMCs, representing infections with several HIV-1 clades, and the inclusion of 7 cognate pairs of hypermutated/non-hypermutated sequences derived from the same patient sample, provided a comprehensive view of the characteristics of APOBEC-mediated restriction in vivo. Levels of hypermutation varied nearly 5-fold among the studied proviruses. GpG motifs were most frequently affected (22/24 proviruses). Levels of hypermutation varied across the genome. The reported "twin peak" pattern of hypermutation was observed in 18/24 hypermutants, but the remainder exhibited singular non-conforming patterns. These data suggest considerable complexity in the interplay of host restriction and viral defense during HIV-1 infection.
- Host restriction
- Innate immunity