Section 3
Chapter 2,966

Strand displacement synthesis in the central polypurine tract region of HIV-1 promotes DNA to DNA strand transfer recombination

Fuentes, G.M.; Palaniappan, C.; Fay, P.J.; Bambara, R.A.

Journal of Biological Chemistry 271(47): 29605-29611


ISSN/ISBN: 0021-9258
PMID: 8939890
DOI: 10.1074/jbc.271.47.29605
Accession: 002965413

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Two distinct plus strand initiation sites have been identified in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the central polypurine tract (cPPT) and the polypurine tract located just upstream of the U3 region (U3-PPT). When synthesis from the U3-PPT reaches the cPPT, the elongating primer causes limited strand displacement of the product created from the cPPT. We examined whether reverse transcriptase (RT) catalyzed strand transfer recombination is promoted by this process. Using a substrate having the viral sequence of the displaced region, we measured transfer of an elongating DNA primer from a donor DNA to an acceptor DNA. Strand transfer synthesis was only efficient when RT was performing strand displacement synthesis. Transfer efficiency was directly related to acceptor concentration but independent of the reaction time. Transfer could occur to acceptors containing 80, 40, or 20 nucleotides of homology with the template DNA. Using different acceptors, we found that DNA to DNA transfer occurred at positions throughout the donor template, except near the 5' end. This shows that a number of the sequences downstream of the cPPT region can promote transfer, but once synthesis has progressed to the point where the downstream segment is completely displaced transfer is not allowed. When the DNA to DNA transfer reactions were performed using a template containing nonviral sequences, the transfer efficiency dropped significantly. This indicates that transfer efficiency is determined by the sequences of the templates used. HIV-RT RNase H-dependent strand transfer between RNA templates is well documented. We propose a quite different mechanism for DNA to DNA transfer, consistent with the ability of RNase H minus RT to perform this reaction. If these DNA to DNA transfer events occur in vivo, they will result in plus strand recombination.

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