Mutations in the primer grip of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 reverse transcriptase impair proviral DNA synthesis and virion maturation

Yu, Q.; Ottmann, M.; Pechoux, C.; Le Grice, S.; Darlix, J.L.

Journal of Virology 72(9): 7676-7680


ISSN/ISBN: 0022-538X
PMID: 9696874
Accession: 003208753

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This report describes the effects of mutating highly conserved residues in the primer grip domain of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 reverse transcriptase (RT) on virus formation and infectivity. Among a series of RT mutant viruses, three (M230A, L234D, and W239A) were found to be noninfectious or very poorly infectious. Our data indicate that these mutations in RT caused severe defects in proviral DNA synthesis. Interestingly, assembly and maturation of mutant virus M230A were similar to those of the wild type, while mutants L234D and W239A showed impaired maturation. The immature morphology of RT mutants L234D and W239A is due at least in part to premature cleavage of the gag-pol precursor, prior to virion budding, indicating that intracellular stability of Pr160(gag-pol) is of key importance during virus assembly.