Natural Polymorphisms and Oligomerization of Human APOBEC3H Contribute to Single-stranded DNA Scanning Ability

J Biol Chem. 2015 Nov 6;290(45):27188-27203. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M115.666065. Epub 2015 Sep 22.


APOBEC3H is a deoxycytidine deaminase that can restrict the replication of HIV-1 in the absence of the viral protein Vif that induces APOBEC3H degradation in cells. APOBEC3H exists in humans as seven haplotypes (I-VII) with different cellular stabilities. Of the three stable APOBEC3H haplotypes (II, V, and VII), haplotypes II and V occur most frequently in the population. Despite APOBEC3H being a bona fide restriction factor, there has been no comparative biochemical characterization of APOBEC3H haplotypes. We characterized the ssDNA scanning mechanisms that haplotypes II and V use to search their ssDNA substrate for cytosine-containing deamination motifs. APOBEC3H haplotype II was able to processively deaminate multiple cytosines in a single enzyme-substrate encounter by using sliding, jumping, and intersegmental transfer movements. In contrast, APOBEC3H haplotype V exhibited diminished sliding and intersegmental transfer abilities but was able to jump along ssDNA. Due to an Asp or Glu at amino acid 178 differentiating these APOBEC3H haplotypes, the data indicated that this amino acid on helix 6 contributes to processivity. The diminished processivity of APOBEC3H haplotype V did not result in a reduced efficiency to restrict HIV-1 replication in single-cycle infectivity assays, suggesting a redundancy in the contributions of jumping and intersegmental transfer to mutagenic efficiency. Optimal processivity on ssDNA also required dimerization of APOBEC3H through the β2 strands. The findings support a model in which jumping can compensate for deficiencies in intersegmental transfer and suggest that APOBEC3H haplotypes II and V induce HIV-1 mutagenesis efficiently but by different mechanisms.

Keywords: DNA-protein interaction; deoxycytidine deaminase; host restriction factor; human immunodeficiency virus (HIV); mutagenesis; processivity; viral immunology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aminohydrolases / chemistry*
  • Aminohydrolases / genetics*
  • Aminohydrolases / metabolism
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA, Single-Stranded / metabolism*
  • DNA, Viral / genetics
  • DNA, Viral / metabolism
  • HIV-1 / genetics
  • HIV-1 / physiology
  • Haplotypes
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutagenesis, Site-Directed
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Protein Multimerization
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid
  • Substrate Specificity
  • Virus Replication
  • vif Gene Products, Human Immunodeficiency Virus / genetics
  • vif Gene Products, Human Immunodeficiency Virus / metabolism


  • DNA, Single-Stranded
  • DNA, Viral
  • vif Gene Products, Human Immunodeficiency Virus
  • vif protein, Human immunodeficiency virus 1
  • APOBEC3H protein, human
  • Aminohydrolases