Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research

SAMHD1 restricts HIV-1 infection in dendritic cells (DCs) by dNTP depletion, but its expression in DCs and primary CD4+ T-lymphocytes cannot be upregulated by interferons

Corine St Gelais1, Suresh de Silva1, Sarah M Amie2, Christopher M Coleman1, Heather Hoy1, Joseph A Hollenbaugh2, Baek Kim2* and Li Wu13*

Author Affiliations

1 Center for Retrovirus Research, Department of Veterinary Biosciences, The Ohio State University, 1900 Coffey Road, Columbus, Ohio, 43210, USA

2 Department of Microbiology & Immunology, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, 601 Elmwood Ave, Box 672, Rochester, New York, 14642, USA

3 Department of Microbial Infection and Immunity, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, 43210, USA

For all author emails, please log on.

Retrovirology 2012, 9:105  doi:10.1186/1742-4690-9-105

Published: 11 December 2012



SAMHD1 is an HIV-1 restriction factor in non-dividing monocytes, dendritic cells (DCs), macrophages, and resting CD4+ T-cells. Acting as a deoxynucleoside triphosphate (dNTP) triphosphohydrolase, SAMHD1 hydrolyzes dNTPs and restricts HIV-1 infection in macrophages and resting CD4+ T-cells by decreasing the intracellular dNTP pool. However, the intracellular dNTP pool in DCs and its regulation by SAMHD1 remain unclear. SAMHD1 has been reported as a type I interferon (IFN)-inducible protein, but whether type I IFNs upregulate SAMHD1 expression in primary DCs and CD4+ T-lymphocytes is unknown.


Here, we report that SAMHD1 significantly blocked single-cycle and replication-competent HIV-1 infection of DCs by decreasing the intracellular dNTP pool and thereby limiting the accumulation of HIV-1 late reverse transcription products. Type I IFN treatment did not upregulate endogenous SAMHD1 expression in primary DCs or CD4+ T-lymphocytes, but did in HEK 293T and HeLa cell lines. When SAMHD1 was over-expressed in these two cell lines to achieve higher levels than that in DCs, no HIV-1 restriction was observed despite partially reducing the intracellular dNTP pool.


Our results suggest that SAMHD1-mediated reduction of the intracellular dNTP pool in DCs is a common mechanism of HIV-1 restriction in myeloid cells. Endogenous expression of SAMHD1 in primary DCs or CD4+ T-lymphocytes is not upregulated by type I IFNs.

HIV-1 restriction; SAMHD1; Dendritic cells; Interferon; Intracellular dNTPs