Author(s): Kieffer TL, Kieffer TL, Kwon P, Nettles RE, Han Y, Ray SC
Abstract In vitro studies have shown that the host cytidine deaminase APOBEC3G causes lethal hypermutation in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 reverse transcripts unless its incorporation into virions is blocked by Vif. By examining stably archived sequences in resting CD4+ T cells, we show that hypermutation occurs in most if not all infected individuals. Hypermutated sequences comprised >9\% of archived species in resting CD4+ T cells but were not found in plasma virus. Mutations occurred in predicted contexts, with notable hotspots. Thus, defects in Vif function in vivo give rise to hypermutated viral genomes that can be integrated but do not produce progeny viruses.