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    As the hosts of lentiviruses, almost 40 species of felids (family Felidae) are distributed around the world, and more than 20 feline species test positive for feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), a lineage of lentiviruses. These observations suggest that FIVs globally infected a variety of feline species through multiple cross-species transmission events during a million-year history. Cellular restriction factors potentially inhibit lentiviral replication and limit cross-species lentiviral transmission, and cellular APOBEC3 deaminases are known as a potent restriction factor. In contrast, lentiviruses have evolutionary-acquired viral infectivity factor (Vif) to neutralize the APOBEC3-mediated antiviral effect. Because the APOBEC3-Vif interaction is strictly specific for viruses and their hosts, a comprehensive investigation focusing on Vif-APOBEC3 interplay can provide clues that will elucidate the roles of this virus-host interplay on cross-species transmission of lentiviruses. Here, we performed a comprehensive investigation with 144 patterns of a round robin test using 18 feline APOBEC3Z3 genes, an antiviral APOBEC3 gene in felid, and 8 FIV Vifs and derived a matrix showing the interplay between feline APOBEC3Z3 and FIV Vif. We particularly focused on the interplay between the APOBEC3Z3 of three felids (domestic cat, ocelot, and Asian golden cat) and an FIV Vif (strain Petaluma), and revealed that residues 65 and 66 of the APOBEC3Z3 protein of multiple felids are responsible for the counteraction triggered by FIV Petaluma Vif. Altogether, our findings can be a clue to elucidate not only the scenarios of the cross-species transmissions of FIVs in felids but also the evolutionary interaction between mammals and lentiviruses. IMPORTANCE Most of the emergences of new virus infections originate from the cross-species transmission of viruses. The fact that some virus infections are strictly specific for the host species indicates that certain "species barriers" in the hosts restrict cross-species jump of viruses, while viruses have evolutionary acquired their own "arms" to overcome/antagonize/neutralize these hurdles. Therefore, understanding of the molecular mechanism leading to successful cross-species viral transmission is crucial for considering the menus of the emergence of novel pathogenic viruses. In the field of retrovirology, APOBEC3-Vif interaction is a well-studied example of the battles between hosts and viruses. Here, we determined the sequences of 11 novel feline APOBEC3Z3 genes and demonstrated that all 18 different feline APOBEC3Z3 proteins tested exhibit anti-feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) activity. Our comprehensive investigation focusing on the interplay between feline APOBEC3 and FIV Vif can be a clue to elucidate the scenarios of the cross-species transmissions of FIVs in felids.


    Yusuke Kosugi, Keiya Uriu, Narumi Suzuki, Keisuke Yamamoto, Shumpei Nagaoka, Izumi Kimura, Yoriyuki Konno, Hirofumi Aso, Brian J Willett, Tomoko Kobayashi, Yoshio Koyanagi, Mahoko Takahashi Ueda, Jumpei Ito, Kei Sato. Comprehensive Investigation on the Interplay between Feline APOBEC3Z3 Proteins and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus Vif Proteins. Journal of virology. 2021 Jun 10;95(13):e0017821

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    PMID: 33762419

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