Mutational analysis of Lys65 of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase.


Amino acid Lys(65) is part of the highly flexible beta3-beta4 loop in ...
Amino acid Lys(65) is part of the highly flexible beta3-beta4 loop in the fingers domain of the 66 kDa subunit of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) reverse transcriptase (RT). Recent crystal data show that the epsilon-amino group of Lys(65) interacts with the gamma-phosphate of the bound deoxynucleoside triphosphate ('dNTP') substrate [Huang, Chopra, Verdine and Harrison (1998) Science 282, 1669-1675]. In order to biochemically define the function of RT Lys(65), we have used site-specific mutagenesis to generate RT with a variety of substitutions at this position, including K65E, K65Q, K65A and K65R. Kinetic analyses demonstrate that if Lys(65) in RT is substituted with an amino acid other than arginine the enzyme exhibits dramatic decreases in the binding affinity (K(m)) for all dNTP substrates, in RT catalytic efficiency (k(cat)/K(m)) and in the mutant enzyme's ability to carry out pyrophosphorolysis, the reverse reaction of DNA synthesis. The pH optimum for the DNA polymerase activity of K65E RT was 6.5, compared to 7.5 for the wild-type enzyme, and 8.0 for the K65R, K65A and K65Q mutants. Molecular modelling studies show that mutations of Lys(65) do not affect the geometry of the loop's alpha-carbon backbone, but rather lead to changes in positioning of the side chains of residues Lys(70) and Arg(72). In particular, Glu in K65E can form a salt bridge with Arg(72), leading to the diminution of the latter residue's interaction with the alpha-phosphate of the dNTP residue. This alteration in dNTP-binding may explain the large pH-dependent changes in both dNTP-binding and catalytic efficiency noted with the enzyme. Furthermore, the K65A, K65Q and K65E mutant enzymes are 100-fold less sensitive to all dideoxynucleoside triphosphate ('ddNTP') inhibitors, whereas the K65R mutation results in a selective 10-fold decrease in binding of ddCTP and ddATP only. This implies that mutations at position 65 in HIV-1 RT influence the nucleotide-binding specificity of the enzyme.




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