Ty3/Gypsy family of RNase HI in long-term repeat retroelements
Ribonuclease H (RNase H) enzymes are divided into two major families, Type 1 and Type 2, based on amino acid sequence similarities and biochemical properties. RNase H is an endonuclease that cleaves the RNA strand of an RNA/DNA hybrid in a sequence non-specific manner in the presence of divalent cations. RNase H is widely present in various organisms, including bacteria, archaea and eukaryotes. RNase HI has also been observed as adjunct domains to the reverse transcriptase gene in retroviruses, in long-term repeat (LTR)-bearing retrotransposons and non-LTR retrotransposons. RNase HI in LTR retrotransposons perform degradation of the original RNA template, generation of a polypurine tract (the primer for plus-strand DNA synthesis), and final removal of RNA primers from newly synthesized minus and plus strands. The catalytic residues for RNase H enzymatic activity, three aspartatic acids and one glutamic acid residue (DEDD), are unvaried across all RNase H domains. Phylogenetic patterns of RNase HI of LTR retroelements is classified into five major families, Ty3/Gypsy, Ty1/Copia, Bel/Pao, DIRS1 and the vertebrate retroviruses. Ty3/Gypsy family widely distributed among the genomes of plants, fungi and animals. RNase H inhibitors have been explored as an anti-HIV drug target because RNase H inactivation inhibits reverse transcription.