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Nature Immunology

February 13, 2012

SAMHD1, a protein known to limit human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) infection of certain immune cells does so by degrading the basic constituents of DNA, known as dNTPs, in the host cells, according to a report published in Nature Immunology. Infection of some hematopoietic immune cells such as dendritic cells and macrophages by HIV-1 is inefficient due to expression of a protein called SAMHD1. Margottin-Goguet, Landau, Kim and colleagues show that SAMHD1 restricts HIV-1 replication by limiting the amount of intracellular dNTPs in macrophages. dNTPs are the building blocks of DNA and HIV-1 requires host dNTPs as an intermediate step in its replication cycle. Nucleotide starvation could be a general mechanism to protect cells from HIV-1 and other viruses that replicate through a DNA intermediate.

DOI:10.1038/ni.2236 | Original article

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