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Nucleic Acids Res. 1993 Nov 25;21(23):5509-16.

Selective optimization of the Rev-binding element of HIV-1.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, Indiana University, Bloomington 47405.


RNA molecules that can bind to the Rev protein of HIV-1 have been isolated from random sequence nucleic acid pools based on a minimal Rev-binding element (RBE) found within the Rev Responsive Element (RRE). While the selected sequences are related to the wild-type element, they also contain substitutions that allow them to bind Rev up to 10-fold better in vitro. A hypothesized homopurine pairing at G48:G71 is generally replaced by A48:A71; the occasional selection of C48:A71 suggests that R71 may be in a syn conformation. These data support the structural model for the RBE originally proposed by Bartel et al. (1). Additional interactions with the Rev protein are promoted by the sequence CUC ... UYGAG, found in one class of high-affinity aptamers, but absent from the wild-type element. Within each class of aptamers different residues and substructures covary with one another to generate optimal Rev-binding surfaces. The interdependencies of different nucleotide substitutions suggest structural models for both the wild-type RBE and the selected high-affinity aptamers.

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