Adenosine deaminases that act on dsRNA (ADARs) are enzymes that target double-stranded regions of RNA converting adenosines into inosines (A-to-I editing) thus contributing to genome complexity and fine regulation of gene expression. It has been described that a member of the ADAR family, ADAR1, can target viruses and affect their replication process. Here we report evidence showing that ADAR1 stimulates human immuno deficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) replication by using both editing-dependent and editing-independent mechanisms. We show that over-expression of ADAR1 in HIV-1 producer cells increases viral protein accumulation in an editing-independent manner. Moreover, HIV-1 virions generated in the presence of over-expressed ADAR1 but not an editing-inactive ADAR1 mutant are released more efficiently and display enhanced infectivity, as demonstrated by challenge assays performed with T cell lines and primary CD4. + T lymphocytes. Finally, we report that ADAR1 associates with HIV-1 RNAs and edits adenosines in the 5' untranslated region (UTR) and the Rev and Tat coding sequence. Overall these results suggest that HIV-1 has evolved mechanisms to take advantage of specific RNA editing activity of the host cell and disclose a stimulatory function of ADAR1 in the spread of HIV-1.
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