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Biochemistry. 1995 Aug 1;34(30):9785-94.

A short autocomplementary sequence in the 5' leader region is responsible for dimerization of MoMuLV genomic RNA.

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Unité de Biochimie, URA 147 CNRS, Institut Gustave Roussy, Villejuif, France.


Previous work has shown that a region of Moloney murine leukemia virus (MoMuLV) RNA located between nucleotides 280 and 330 in the PSI region (nt 215-565) is implicated in the dimerization process. We show with a deletion from nucleotides 290-299 in PSI RNA transcripts and through an antisense oligonucleotide complementary to nucleotides 275-291 that the 283-298 region is involved in RNA dimer formation in vitro. In an attempt to further characterize the mechanism of dimer formation, a series of short RNA transcripts was synthesized which overlapps the PSI region of MoMuLV RNA. The dimerization of these RNAs is temperature dependent. The predicted secondary structure of the 278-303 region, as a function of temperature, reveals that this sequence is able to adopt two conformations: (1) the U288 AGCUA293 sequence in a loop; (2) part of the same nucleotides implicated in a stem. These results, together with thermodynamic analysis, strongly suggest that (1) the loop conformation of the UAGCUA sequence modulates the relative amount of RNA dimer and (2) a 16 bp long Watson-Crick base pairing is involved in RNA dimer formation. We propose that loop-loop recognition via the U288 AGCUA293 sequence leads to a stable structure induced by a stem-loop opening. Furthermore, our results do not support purine quartet formation as necessary for the dimerization of the 5' leader MoMuLV RNA.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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