Nonradioactive detection of retroviral-associated RNase H activity in a microplate-based, high-throughput format.

Abstract:

None of the available antiretroviral drugs that are currently used in the clinic to treat infection with HIV-1 is directed against the RNase H active site of the reverse transcriptase. Here we developed a nonradioactive, 96-well plate assay designed to be used for high-throughput screening of compounds capable of inhibiting the RNase H activity of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase. We employed a tRNA as substrate that was labeled with digoxygenin-modified reporter residues. The labeled tRNA was prehybridized with a DNA oligonucleotide that contained a single biotinylated residue at its 5'-terminus to ensure its attachment to streptavidin-coated microplates. The uncleaved, immobilized DNA/tRNA substrate was detected through the use of established ELISA protocols. Incubation with purified HIV-1 reverse transcriptase initiated RNase H degradation and caused a signal reduction to negligible background levels. In contrast, the signal intensity remained unaffected when using an RNase H deficient mutant enzyme. The assay was validated using the hydrazone derivative BBNH that was previously shown to inhibit RNase H degradation below concentrations of 10 microM.

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