1.AIDS Research Department, State Key Laboratory of Pathogen and Biosecurity, Beijing Institute of Microbiology and Epidemiology, Being 100071, China 2.Department of Pathology, Department of Microbiology- Immunology, Institute of Human Virology, University of Maryland, 10 South Pine Street, MSTF700A, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA
Interaction between the HIV-1 Vif protein and the cellular host APOBEC3G protein is a promising target for inhibition of HIV-1 replication. Considering that human cells are a very complicated environment for the study of protein interactions, the goal of this study was to check whether fission yeast could be used as a model cell for studying the Vif-APOBEC3G interaction. Vif and APOBEC3G were expressed in fusion with GFP protein in the S. pombe SP223 strain. Subcellular localizations of Vif and APOBEC3G were observed with fluorescent microscopy. Codon optimization was used to over express the Vif protein in S. pombe cells. The degradation of APOBEC3G mediated by Vif was tested through expressing Vif and GFP-APOBEC3G proteins in the same cell. Western Blot analysis was used to measure the corresponding protein levels under different experimental conditions. The results showed that the Vif protein was predominantly localized in the nucleus of S. pombe cells, APOBEC3G was localized in the cytoplasm and concentrated at punctate bodies that were often in close proximity to the nucleus but were not necessarily restricted from other regions in the cytoplasm. Vif protein expression levels were increased significantly by using codon optimization and APOBEC3G was degraded when Vif was over-expressed in the same S. pombe cells. These results indicate that fission yeast is a good model for studying the interaction between the Vif and APOBEC3G proteins.