Dissociation of genome dimerization from packaging functions and virion maturation of human immunodeficiency virus type 1

Sakuragi, J-ichi.; Iwamoto, A.; Shioda, T.

Journal of Virology 76(3): 959-967


ISSN/ISBN: 0022-538X
PMID: 11773371
DOI: 10.1128/jvi.76.3.959-967.2002
Accession: 010480523

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The dimer initiation site/dimer linkage sequence (DIS/DLS) region of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) RNA genome is thought to play important roles at various stages of the virus life cycle. Recently we showed that the DIS/DLS region affects RNA-RNA interaction in intact virus particles, by demonstrating that duplication of the region in viral RNA caused the production of virus particles containing partially monomeric RNAs. We have extended this finding and succeeded for the first time in creating mutant particles which contain only monomeric RNAs without modifying any viral proteins. In terms of RNA encapsidation ability, virion density, and protein processing, the mutant particles were comparable to wild-type particles. The level of production of viral DNA by the mutant virus construct in infected cells was also comparable to that of the constructs that produced exclusively dimeric RNA, indicating that monomeric viral RNA could be the template for strand transfer. These results indicated that the RNA dimerization of HIV-1 could be separated from viral RNA packaging and was not absolutely required for RNA packaging, virion maturation, and reverse transcription.