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J Mol Biol. 2000 Nov 3;303(4):515-29.

Arginine side-chain dynamics in the HIV-1 rev-RRE complex.

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  • 1Division of Immunology, Beckman Research Institute of the City of Hope National Medical Center, Duarte, CA, 91010, USA.


The binding of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) Rev protein to its viral RNA target, stem-loop IIB (SLIIB) within the Rev Response element (RRE), mediates the export of singly-spliced and unspliced viral mRNA from the nucleus to the cytoplasm of infected cells; this Rev-mediated transport of viral RNA is absolutely required for the replication of infectious virus. To identify important features that influence the binding affinity and specificity of this Rev-RRE interaction, we have characterized the arginine side-chain dynamics of the Rev arginine-rich motif (ARM) while bound to a 34 nt RNA oligomer that corresponds to SLIIB. As the specificity of the Rev-RRE interaction varies with salt concentration, arginine side-chain dynamics were characterized at two different salt conditions. Following NMR measurements of (15)N spin relaxation parameters for the arginine (15)N(epsilon) nuclei, the dynamics of the corresponding N(epsilon)-H(epsilon) bond vectors were interpreted in terms of Lipari-Szabo model-free parameters using anisotropic expressions for the spectral density functions. Results from these analyses indicate that a number of arginine side-chains display a surprising degree of conformational freedom when bound to RNA, and that arginine residues having known importance for specific RRE recognition show striking differences in side-chain mobility. The (15)N relaxation measurements at different salt conditions suggest that the previously reported increase in Rev-RRE specificity at elevated salt concentrations is likely due to reduced affinity of non-specific Rev-RNA interactions. The observed dynamical behavior of the arginine side-chains at this protein-RNA interface likely plays an important role in the specificity and affinity of Rev-SLIIB complex formation.

Copyright 2000 Academic Press.

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