Expression of the HIV-1 Vif protein in the absence of other viral factors such a Tat and Rev is extremely inefficient due to the presence of inhibitory sequences on its mRNA. This invention uses codon optimization to remove such inhibitory sequences without altering the amino acid sequence of the protein. The modified vif gene in the resulting pcDNA -hVIF vector is expressed under the control of the CMV promoter. In this, the protein functions as wild type and is more amendable to high-level expression in mammalian cells.
Currently this vector is used in on-going studies of HIV infection and its ability to overcome cellular restriction to replication. As such, the reagent will be valuable to other researchers in discovering mechanisms of replication, next generation therapeutics and potentially prevention of infection as well.
- A plasmid pcDNA-hVif capable of expressing VIF independent of other HIV genes through removal of inhibitory sequences on its mRNA.