dUTPase: The frequently overlooked enzyme encoded by many retroviruses

Amnon Hizi*, Eytan Herzig

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Retroviruses are among the best studied viruses in last decades due to their pivotal involvement in cellular processes and, most importantly, in causing human diseases, most notably-acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) that is triggered by human immunodeficiency viruses types 1 and 2 (HIV-1 and HIV-2, respectively). Numerous studied were conducted to understand the involvement of the three cardinal retroviral enzymes, reverse transcriptase, integrase and protease, in the life cycle of the viruses. These studies have led to the development of many inhibitors of these enzymes as anti-retroviral specific drugs that are used for routine treatments of HIV/AIDS patients. Interestingly, a fourth virus-encoded enzyme, the deoxyuridine 5'-triphosphate nucleotidohydrolase (dUTPase) is also found in several major retroviral groups. The presence and the importance of this enzyme to the life cycle of retroviruses were usually overlooked by most retrovirologists, although the occurrence of dUTPases, particularly in beta-retroviruses and in non-primate retroviruses, is known for more than 20 years. Only more recently, retroviral dUTPases were brought into the limelight and were shown in several cases to be essential for viral replication. Therefore, it is likely that future studies on this enzyme will advance our knowledge to a level that will allow designing novel, specific and potent anti-dUTPase drugs that are effective in combating retroviral diseases. The aim of this review is to give concise background information on dUTPases in general and to summarize the most relevant data on retroviral dUTPases and their involvement in the replication processes and pathogenicity of the viruses, as well as in possibly-associated human diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Article number70
Issue number1
StatePublished - 12 Aug 2015


  • Beta-retroviruses
  • Endogenous retroviruses
  • HIV
  • Mutagenesis
  • Non-primate and primate lentiviruses
  • Retroviruses
  • Reverse transcription
  • dUTP
  • dUTPase


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