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

Role of RNA primers in initiation of minus-strand and plus-strand DNA synthesis of the yeast retrotransposon Ty1.

The Ty1 retrotransposon of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is a long terminal repeat mobile genetic element that transposes through an RNA intermediate. Initiation of minus-strand and plus-strand DNA synthesis are two critical steps during reverse transcription of the retrotransposon genome. Initiation of minus-strand DNA synthesis of the Ty1 element is primed by the cytoplasmic initiator methionine tRNA base paired to the primer binding site near the 5' end of the genomic RNA. A structural probing study of the primer tRNA-Ty1 RNA binary complex reveals that besides interactions between the primer binding site and the last 10 nucleotides at the 3' end of the primer tRNA, three short regions of Ty1 RNA named box 0, box 1 and box 2.1 interact with the T and D stems and loops of the primer tRNA. Some in vivo results underline the functional importance of the nucleotide sequence of the boxes and suggest that extended interactions between genomic Ty1 RNA and the primer tRNA play a role in the reverse transcription pathway. Plus-strand DNA synthesis is initiated from an RNase H resistant oligoribonucleotide spanning a purine-rich sequence, the polypurine tract (PPT). Two sites of initiation located at the 5' boundary of the 3' long terminal repeat (PPT1) and near the middle of the TyB (pol) gene in the integrase coding sequence (PPT2) have been identified in the genome of Ty1. The two PPTs have an identical sequence, TGGGTGGTA. Mutations replacing purines by pyrimidines in this sequence significantly diminish or abolish initiation of plus-strand DNA synthesis. Ty1 elements bearing a mutated PPT2 sequence are not defective for transposition whereas mutations in PPT1 abolish transposition.[1]


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