Differential evolution of antiretroviral restriction factors in pteropid bats as revealed by APOBEC3 gene complexity

Joshua A. Hayward, Mary Tachedjian, Jie Cui, Adam Z. Cheng, Adam Johnson, Michelle L. Baker, Reuben S. Harris, Lin Fa Wang, Gilda Tachedjian

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34 Citations (Scopus)


Bats have attracted attention in recent years as important reservoirs of viruses deadly to humans and other mammals. These infections are typically nonpathogenic in bats raising questions about innate immune differences that might exist between bats and othermammals. The APOBEC3 gene family encodes antiviral DNA cytosine deaminases with important roles in the suppression of diverse viruses and genomic parasites. Here, we characterize pteropid APOBEC3 genes and show that species within the genus Pteropus possess the largest and most diverse array of APOBEC3 genes identified in any mammal reported to date. Several bat APOBEC3 proteins are antiviral as demonstrated by restriction of retroviral infectivity using HIV-1 as a model, and recombinant A3Z1 subtypes possess strong DNA deaminase activity. These genes represent the first group of antiviral restriction factors identified in bats with extensive diversification relative to homologues in other mammals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1626-1637
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular Biology and Evolution
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • Antiviral immunity
  • Bats
  • Evolution
  • Restriction factors

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