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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

HIV-1 integrase can process a 3'-end crosslinked substrate.

Integrase of the human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1) recognizes specific sequences located in the U3 and U5 regions at the ends of viral DNA. We synthesized DNA duplexes mimicking the U5 region and containing either 2'-aminonucleosides or non-nucleoside 1,3-propanediol insertions at the third and terminal positions and studied their interactions with HIV-1 integrase. Both modifications introduced a local structural distortion in the DNA double helix. Replacement of the terminal nucleosides by corresponding 2'-aminonucleosides had no significant effect on integrase activity. We used an integrase substrate bearing terminal 2'-aminonucleosides in both strands to synthesize a duplex with cross-linked strands. This duplex was then used to determine whether terminal base pair disruption is an obligatory step of retroviral DNA 3'-processing. Processing of the cross-linked analog of the integrase substrate yielded a product of the same length as 3'-processing of the wild-type substrate but the reaction efficiency was lower. Replacement of the third adenosine in the processed strand by a corresponding 2'-aminonucleoside did not affect integrase activity, whereas, its replacement by 1,3-propanediol completely inhibited 3'-processing. Both modifications of the complementary thymidine in the nonprocessed strand increased the initial rate of 3'-processing. The same effect was observed when both nucleosides, at the third position, were replaced by corresponding 2'-aminonucleosides. This indicates that the local duplex distortion facilitated the cleavage of the phosphodiester bond. Thus, a localized destabilization of the third A-T base pair is necessary for efficient 3'-processing, whereas 3'-end-fraying is important but not absolutely required.[1]


  1. HIV-1 integrase can process a 3'-end crosslinked substrate. Agapkina, J., Smolov, M., Zubin, E., Mouscadet, J.F., Gottikh, M. Eur. J. Biochem. (2004) [Pubmed]
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