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Protein Sci. 1994 Jun;3(6):888-97.

Folding of the multidomain human immunodeficiency virus type-I integrase.

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Institute for Molecular Virology, St. Louis University, Missouri 63110.


Protein folding conditions were established for human immunodeficiency virus integrase (IN) obtained from purified bacterial inclusion bodies. IN was denatured by 6 M guanidine.HCl-5 mM dithiothreitol, purified by gel filtration, and precipitated by ammonium sulfate. The reversible solvation of precipitated IN by 6 M guanidine.HCl allowed for wide variation of protein concentration in the folding reaction. A 6-fold dilution of denatured IN by 1 M NaCl buffer followed by dialysis produced enzymatically active IN capable of 3' OH end processing, strand transfer, and disintegration using various human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) long terminal repeat DNA substrates. The specific activities of folded IN preparations for these enzymatic reactions were comparable to those of soluble IN purified directly from bacteria. The subunit composition and enzymatic activities of IN were affected by the folding conditions. Standard folding conditions were defined in which monomers and protein aggregates sedimenting as dimers and tetramers wree produced. These protein aggregates were enzymatically active, whereas monomers had reduced strand transfer activity. Temperature modifications of the folding conditions permitted formation of mainly monomers. Upon assaying, these monomers were efficient for strand transfer and disintegration, but the oligomeric state of IN under the conditions of the assay is determinate. Our results suggest that monomers of the multidomain HIV-1 IN are folded correctly for various catalytic activities, but the conditions for specific oligomerization in the absence of catalytic activity are undefined.

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