Identification and antiviral activity of common polymorphisms in the APOBEC3 locus in human populations

Nisha K. Duggal, Wenqing Fu, Joshua M. Akey, Michael Emerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


There are seven members of the APOBEC3 family in humans (APOBEC3A through APOBEC3H) that have antiviral activity against retroviruses and/or retroelements. To determine whether variants in APOBEC3 genes in human populations have altered antiviral activity, we identified and functionally tested novel single nucleotide variants (SNVs) in APOBEC3 genes present in the 1000 Genome Project dataset. We found that common variants minor allele frequency (>1%) of APOBEC3A, C, F, and G do not affect protein function. However, we found that two common novel polymorphisms in APOBEC3D decrease antiviral activity against HIV-1, and one polymorphism decreases activity against Alu retrotransposons. We characterized the diversity of APOBEC3 genes in three human populations and find significant evidence that APOBEC3D has evolved under purifying selection in recent human history. These data suggest that the activity of APOBEC3D has been maintained in human populations for a cellular function in host defense.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)329-337
Number of pages9
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 1 2013
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Virology


  • Alu elements
  • Apobec3 locus
  • Apobec3D
  • Common polymorphisms
  • HIV
  • Human evolution


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