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Nucleic Acids Res. 2001 Aug 1;29(15):3154-63.

Reverse transcriptase incorporation of 1,5-anhydrohexitol nucleotides.

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Laboratory of Medicinal Chemistry, Rega Institute for Medical Research, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.


Several reverse transcriptases were studied for their ability to accept anhydrohexitol triphosphates, having a conformationally restricted six-membered ring, as substrate for template-directed synthesis of HNA. It was found that AMV, M-MLV, M-MLV (H(-)), RAV2 and HIV-1 reverse transcriptases were able to recognise the anhydrohexitol triphosphate as substrate and to efficiently catalyse the incorporation of one non-natural anhydrohexitol nucleotide opposite a natural complementary nucleotide. However, only the dimeric enzymes, the RAV2 and HIV-1 reverse transcriptases, seemed to be able to further extend the primer with another anhydrohexitol building block. Subsequently, several HIV-1 mutants (4xAZT, 4xAZT/L100I, L74V, M184V and K65A) were likewise analysed, resulting in selection of K65A and, in particular, M184V as the most succesful mutant HIV-1 reverse transcriptases capable of elongating a DNA primer with several 1,5-anhydrohexitol adenines in an efficient way. Results of kinetic experiments in the presence of this enzyme revealed that incorporation of one anhydrohexitol nucleotide of adenine or thymine gave an increased (for 1,5-anhydrohexitol-ATP) and a slightly decreased (for 1,5-anhydrohexitol-TTP) K(m) value in comparison to that of their natural counterparts. However, no more than four analogues could be inserted under the experimental conditions required for selective incorporation. Investigation of incorporation of the altritol anhydrohexitol nucleotide of adenine in the presence of M184V and Vent (exo(-)) DNA polymerase proved that an adjacent hydroxyl group on C3 of 1,5-anhydrohexitol-ATP has a detrimental effect on the substrate activity of the six-ring analogue. These results could be rationalised based on the X-ray structure of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase.

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