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J Biol Chem. 1998 Jan 9;273(2):1165-74.

Initiation of DNA replication at palindromic telomeres is mediated by a duplex-to-hairpin transition induced by the minute virus of mice nonstructural protein NS1.

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  • 1Department of Applied Tumor Virology, Abteilung 0610, Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum and Formation INSERM U375, D-69009 Heidelberg, Germany.


The linear single-stranded DNA genome of the minute virus of mice (MVM) is replicated via a double-stranded replicative form (RF) intermediate. Amplification of this RF is initiated by the folding-back of palindromic sequences serving as primers for strand-displacement synthesis and formation of dimeric RF DNA. Using an in vitro replication assay and a cloned MVM DNA template, we observed hairpin-primed DNA replication at both MVM DNA termini, with a bias toward right-end initiation. Initiation of DNA replication is favored by nuclear components of A9 cell extract and highly stimulated by the MVM nonstructural protein NS1. Hairpin-primed DNA replication is also observed in the presence of NS1 and the Klenow fragment of the Escherichia coli DNA polymerase I. Addition of ATPgammaS (adenosine 5'-O-(thiotriphosphate)) blocks the initiation of DNA replication but not the extension of pre-existing hairpin primers formed in the presence of NS1 only. The NS1-mediated unwinding of the right-end palindrome may account for the recently reported capacity of NS1 for driving dimer RF synthesis in vitro.

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