by Nívea D. Amoêdo, Adriana O. Afonso, Sílvia M. Cunha, Ricardo H. Oliveira, Elizabeth S. Machado, Marcelo A. Soares
Increasing evidence has accumulated showing the role of APOBEC3G (A3G) and 3F (A3F) in the control of HIV-1 replication and disease progression in humans. However, very few studies have been conducted in HIV-infected children. Here, we analyzed the levels of A3G and A3F expression and induced G-to-A hypermutation in a group of children with distinct profiles of disease progression. Methodology/Principal Findings
Perinatally HIV-infected children were classified as progressors or long-term non-progressors according to criteria based on HIV viral load and CD4 T-cell counts over time. A group of uninfected control children were also enrolled in the study. PBMC proviral DNA was assessed for G-to-A hypermutation, whereas A3G and A3F mRNA were isolated and quantified through TaqMan® real-time PCR. No correlation was observed between disease progression and A3G/A3F expression or hypermutation levels. Although all children analyzed showed higher expression levels of A3G compared to A3F (an average fold of 5 times), a surprisingly high A3F-related hypermutation rate was evidenced in the cohort, irrespective of the child's disease progression profile. Conclusion
Our results contribute to the current controversy as to whether HIV disease progression is related to A3G/A3F enzymatic activity. To our knowledge, this is the first study analyzing A3G/F expression in HIV-infected children, and it may pave the way to a better understanding of the host factors governing HIV disease in the pediatric setting.