- HIV Type 1 (HIV-1) and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) display differential replication kinetics in macrophages. This is because high expression levels of the active host deoxynucleotide triphosphohydrolase sterile α motif domain and histidine-aspartate domain–containing protein 1 (SAMHD1) deplete intracellular dNTPs, which restrict HIV-1 reverse transcription, and result in a restrictive infection in this myeloid cell type. Some SIVs overcome SAMHD1 restriction using viral protein X (Vpx), a viral accessory protein that induces proteasomal degradation of SAMHD1, increasing cellular dNTP concentrations and enabling efficient proviral DNA synthesis.
- Unlike activated CD4+ T cells, nondividing macrophages have an extremely small dNTP pool, which restricts HIV-1 reverse transcription. However, rNTPs are equally abundant in both of these cell types and reach much higher concentrations than dNTPs. The greater difference in concentration between dNTPs and rNTPs in macrophages results in frequent misincorporation of noncanonical rNTPs during HIV-1 reverse transcription. Here, we tested whether the highly abundant SAM domain– and HD domain–containing protein 1 (SAMHD1) deoxynucleoside triphosphorylase in macrophages is responsible for frequent rNTP incorporation during HIV-1 reverse transcription.