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J Mol Biol. 1995 Oct 20;253(2):291-303.

Plus-strand DNA synthesis of the yeast retrotransposon Ty1 is initiated at two sites, PPT1 next to the 3' LTR and PPT2 within the pol gene. PPT1 is sufficient for Ty1 transposition.

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Unité de Recherche Associée, 1342 du Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Institut Curie-Biologie Centre, Orsay, France.


Long terminal repeat elements and retroviruses require primers for initiation of minus and plus-strand DNA synthesis by reverse transcriptase. Here we demonstrate genetically that plus-strand DNA synthesis of the yeast Ty1 element is initiated at two sites located at the 5' boundary of the 3' long terminal repeat (PPT1) and near the middle of the pol gene in the integrase coding sequence (PPT2). A consequence of the presence of two PPTs is that Ty1 plus-strand DNA exists as segments at some time during replication. Three fragments have been identified: the plus-strand strong-stop DNA initiated at PPT1, a downstream fragment initiated at PPT2 and an upstream fragment spanning the 5'-terminal part of Ty1 and a portion of the TyB gene. Characterization of the 3' ends of the plus-strand DNA fragments reveals (1) that the upstream fragment is elongated beyond PPT2 creating a plus-strand overlap and (2) that the majority of plus-strand strong-stop DNA fragments bear a copy of the minus-strand primer binding site in agreement with the accepted model of retroviral genomic RNA reverse transcription. The two polypurine tracts, PPT1 and PPT2, have an identical sequence GGGTGGTA. Mutations replacing purines by pyrimidines in this sequence significantly diminish or abolish initiation of plus-strand synthesis. Ty1 elements bearing a mutated PPT2 sequence are not defective for transposition whereas mutations in PPT1 abolish transposition.

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