Host ZCCHC3 blocks HIV-1 infection and production through a dual mechanism

iScience. 2024 Feb 5;27(3):109107. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2024.109107. eCollection 2024 Mar 15.


Most mammalian cells prevent viral infection and proliferation by expressing various restriction factors and sensors that activate the immune system. Several host restriction factors that inhibit human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) have been identified, but most of them are antagonized by viral proteins. Here, we describe CCHC-type zinc-finger-containing protein 3 (ZCCHC3) as a novel HIV-1 restriction factor that suppresses the production of HIV-1 and other retroviruses, but does not appear to be directly antagonized by viral proteins. It acts by binding to Gag nucleocapsid (GagNC) via zinc-finger motifs, which inhibits viral genome recruitment and results in genome-deficient virion production. ZCCHC3 also binds to the long terminal repeat on the viral genome via the middle-folded domain, sequestering the viral genome to P-bodies, which leads to decreased viral replication and production. This distinct, dual-acting antiviral mechanism makes upregulation of ZCCHC3 a novel potential therapeutic strategy.

Keywords: Biological sciences; Immunology; Virology.