The human T-cell lymphotropic virus type-I dimerization initiation site forms a hairpin loop, unlike previously characterized retroviral dimerization motifs

Tom P. Monie, Jane S. Greatorex, Martin Zacharias, Andrew M.L. Lever

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

The formation of genomic RNA dimers during the retroviral life cycle is essential for optimal viral replication and infectivity. The sequences and RNA structures responsible for this interaction are located in the untranslated 5′ leader RNA, along with other cis-acting signals. Dimer formation occurs by specific interaction between identical structural motifs. It is believed that an initial kissing hairpin forms following self-recognition by autocomplementary RNA loops, leading to formation of an extended stable duplex. The dimerization initiation site (DIS) of the deltaretrovirus human T-cell lymphotropic virus type-I (HTLV-I) has been previously localized to a 14-nucleotide sequence predicted to contain an RNA stem loop. Biochemical probing of the monomeric RNA structure using RNAse T1, RNAse V1, RNAse U2, lead acetate, and dimethyl sulfate has led to the generation of the first structural map of the HTLV-I DIS. A comprehensive data set of individual nucleotide modifications reveals that the structural motif responsible for HTLV-I RNA dimerization forms a trinucleotide RNA loop, unlike any previously characterized retroviral dimerization motif. Molecular modeling demonstrates that this can be formed by an unusual C:synG base pair closing the loop. Comparative phylogeny indicates that such a motif may also exist in other deltaretroviruses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6085-6090
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemistry
Volume43
Issue number20
DOIs
StatePublished - 25 May 2004
Externally publishedYes

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