Murine leukemia virus P50 protein counteracts APOBEC3 by blocking its packaging
MLV has existed in mice for at least a million years, in spite of the existence of host restriction factors that block infection. Although MLV is considered a simple retrovirus compared to lentiviruses, it does encode proteins generated from alternatively spliced RNAs. Here, we show that P50, generated from an alternatively spliced RNA encoded in gag, counteracts APOBEC3 by blocking its packaging. MLV also encodes a protein, glycoGag, that increases capsid stability and limits APOBEC3 access to the reverse transcription complex (RTC). Thus, MLV has evolved multiple means of preventing APOBEC3 from blocking infection, explaining its survival as an infectious pathogen in mice.