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Reuters Health Information (2004-03-18): Antiretrovirus enzyme works against HBV

Drug & Device Development

Antiretrovirus enzyme works against HBV

Last Updated: 2004-03-18 17:20:53 -0400 (Reuters Health)

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - APOBEC3G, a cellular enzyme that provides retroviral protection, also seems to inhibit the replication of hepatitis B virus (HBV), according to a report published in the March 19th issue of Science.

"Our work broadens the spectrum of known viruses inhibited by APOBEC3G," note Dr. Didier Trono and colleagues from the University of Geneva in Switzerland.

Using a variety of laboratory techniques, the researchers found that HBV DNA levels were reduced in cells transfected with APOBEC3G. The enzyme seemed to achieve this effect not by targeting nascent viral DNA, as occurs with retroviruses, but by inhibiting pregenomic RNA packaging.

"Whether the sole role of [APOBEC3G] is to provide antiviral protection or whether it first evolved to fulfill other functions within the cell is an interesting question," the investigators note.

Science 2004;303:1829.

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