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Open Access Highly Accessed Research

A novel role for APOBEC3: Susceptibility to sexual transmission of murine acquired immunodeficiency virus (mAIDS) is aggravated in APOBEC3 deficient mice

Philip H Jones, Harshini V Mehta and Chioma M Okeoma*

Author Affiliations

Department of Microbiology, Carver College of Medicine, University of Iowa, 51 Newton Road, Iowa City, IA 52242-1109, USA

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Retrovirology 2012, 9:50  doi:10.1186/1742-4690-9-50

Published: 12 June 2012

Abstract

Background

APOBEC3 proteins are host factors that restrict infection by retroviruses like HIV, MMTV, and MLV and are variably expressed in hematopoietic and non-hematopoietic cells, such as macrophages, lymphocytes, dendritic, and epithelia cells. Previously, we showed that APOBEC3 expressed in mammary epithelia cells function to limit milk-borne transmission of the beta-retrovirus, mouse mammary tumor virus. In this present study, we used APOBEC3 knockout mice and their wild type counterpart to query the role of APOBEC3 in sexual transmission of LP-BM5 MLV – the etiological agent of murine AIDs (mAIDs).

Results

We show that mouse APOBEC3 is expressed in murine genital tract tissues and gametes and that genital tract tissue of APOBEC3-deficient mice are more susceptible to infection by LP-BM5 virus. APOBEC3 expressed in genital tract tissues most likely plays a role in decreasing virus transmission via the sexual route, since mice deficient in APOBEC3 gene have higher genitalia and seminal plasma virus load and sexually transmit the virus more efficiently to their partners compared to APOBEC3+ mice. Moreover, we show that female mice sexually infected with LP-BM5 virus transmit the virus to their off-spring in APOBEC3-dependent manner.

Conclusion

Our data indicate that genital tissue intrinsic APOBEC3 restricts genital tract infection and limits sexual transmission of LP-BM5 virus.

Keywords:
APOBEC3; murine AIDS; LP-BM5 virus; MLV; ♀: female; ♂: male