GSBS Dissertations and Theses

Publication Date


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Academic Program

Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology


Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology Program

First Thesis Advisor

Tariq M. Rana, Ph.D.


HIV-1, Host-Derived Cellular Factors, Cytidine Deaminase, Trans-Activators


Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 (HIV-1) is the causative agent of Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), currently the leading cause of death from infectious diseases. Since HIV-1 co-opts the host cellular machinery, the study of cellular factors involved is a rational approach in discovering novel therapeutic targets for AIDS drug development. In this thesis, we present studies on two such proteins. APOBEC3G is from the family of cytidine deaminases known to keep endogenous retroviruses and retrotransposons at bay to maintain stability of the human genome. APOBEC3G targets Vif-deficient HIV-1 particles and renders them noninfectious, partially through deaminase-dependent hypermutation of the provirus during reverse transcription. APOBEC3G largely localizes in mRNA processing (P) bodies, cytoplasmic structures involved in RNA metabolism. Here we explore the significance of APOBEC3G localization in P bodies. We found that disrupting P bodies does not affect virion incorporation of endogenous APOBEC3G, implying that the APOBEC3G fraction in P bodies is not directly involved in the production of nascent, non-infectious particles.

We also study UPF1, another host protein encapsidated by HIV-1. It is an essential protein mainly studied for its role in nonsense-mediated decay (NMD) pathway and belongs to the same helicase superfamily as MOV10, a recently identified antiviral factor. We found that UPF1 is incorporated in HIV-1 virions in a nucleocapsid-dependent manner and is required for single-cycle infectivity at an early, post-entry step of the viral life cycle. This novel function of UPF1 most likely does not involve NMD since depletion of UPF2 does not affect viral infectivity.



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