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Biochemistry. 1999 Mar 23;38(12):3656-67.

Characterization of (+) strand initiation and termination sequences located at the center of the equine infectious anemia virus genome.

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Department of Biochemistry, Division of Infectious Diseases, and Center for AIDS Research, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio 44106-4984, USA.


Permeabilized preparations of equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV) are shown here to support efficient and accurate synthesis of full-length double-stranded proviral DNA. When (-) and (+) strand products were analyzed by Southern blotting, a discontinuity, mapping approximately to the center of the EIAV genome, could be demonstrated for the (+) strand, predicting a second site for initiation of DNA synthesis and a specific mechanism of (+) strand termination. Precise localization of this (+) strand origin within the integrase (IN) coding region was achieved through its in vitro selection and extension into, and excision from, nascent DNA by purified recombinant p66/p51 EIAV reverse transcriptase (RT), suggesting that the EIAV genome harbors a central polypurine tract (cPPT). In addition, a model system was developed for evaluating whether sequences immediately downstream of the cPPT would terminate (+) strand synthesis in the context of strand displacement. Such a sequence was indeed discovered which functions in a manner analogous to that of the central termination sequence (CTS) of HIV, where A-tract-induced minor groove compression has been suggested to induce localized distortion of the nucleic acid duplex and termination of (+) strand synthesis. This interpretation is reinforced by experiments indicating that read-through of the CTS can be efficiently promoted by substituting 2,6-diaminopurine for adenine, thereby relieving minor groove compression. The nucleotide substitution can also shift the site of termination in strand displacement (+) strand synthesis. Collectively, our data support proposals that lentiviruses may have evolved specialized mechanisms for initiating and terminating (+) strand DNA synthesis at the center of their genomes.

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