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Nucleic Acids Res. 2001 Dec 15;29(24):5099-106.

Destabilization of tRNA3(Lys) from the primer-binding site of HIV-1 genome by anti-A loop polyamide nucleotide analog.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Center for the Study of Emerging and Re-Emerging Pathogens UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School, 185 South Orange Avenue, Newark, NJ 07103, USA.


Initiation of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) reverse transcription occurs by extension of the cellular tRNA3(Lys) which anneals to the primer-binding site (PBS) on the 5' non-translated region of the viral RNA genome. The A-rich sequence (A-loop) upstream of the PBS interacts with the anticodon loop of tRNA3(Lys) and has been proposed to be essential for conferring specificity to tRNA3(Lys) for priming the initiation of HIV-1 reverse transcription. We observed that polyamide nucleic acid targeted to the A-loop sequence (PNAAL) exhibits high binding specificity for its target sequence. The PNAAL pre-bound to the A-loop sequence prevents tRNA3(Lys) priming on the viral RNA consequently blocking in vitro initiation of reverse transcription. Further, PNAAL can efficiently disrupt the preformed [tRNA3(Lys)--viral RNA] complex thereby rendering it non-functional for reverse transcription. The endogenous reverse transcription in disrupted HIV-1 virions containing packaged tRNA3(Lys) and its replicating enzyme RT was significantly inhibited by PNAAL, thus providing direct evidence of the involvement of the A-loop region of viral RNA genome in tRNA3(Lys) priming process. These findings suggest the potential of the A-loop region as a critical target for blocking HIV-1 replication.

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