Mechanistic studies of early pausing events during initiation of HIV-1 reverse transcription.


We have investigated the role of sequences that surround the primer ...
We have investigated the role of sequences that surround the primer binding site (PBS) in the reverse transcriptase-mediated initiation of (-) strand DNA synthesis in human immunodeficiency virus type 1. In comparisons of reverse transcription initiated from either the cognate primer tRNALys.3 or a DNA primer D-Lys.3, bound to PBS sequences, we observed that a +3 pausing site occurred in both circumstances. However, the initiation reaction with tRNALys.3 was also characterized by a pausing event after incorporation of the first nucleotide. Alteration of sequences at the 5'-end instead of the 3'-end of the PBS resulted in elimination of the +3 pausing site, suggesting that this site was template sequence-dependent. In contrast, the pausing event at the +1 nucleotide position was still present in experiments that employed either of these mutated RNA templates. The mutations at the 5'-end of the PBS also caused a severely diminished rate of initiation and the strong arrest of reactions at the +1 stage when tRNALys.3 was used as primer. Therefore, we propose that the +1 pausing event is an initiation-specific event in regard to reactions primed by tRNALys.3 and that sequences at the 5'-end of the PBS may facilitate the release of reverse transcription from initiation to elongation.




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