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Altering the Intracellular Environment Increases the Frequency of Tandem Repeat Deletion during Moloney Murine Leukemia Virus Reverse Transcription

By Julie K. Pfeiffer, Robert S. Topping, Nam-Hee Shin and Alice Telesnitsky


During retroviral DNA synthesis reverse transcriptase frequently performs nonrequired template switches that can lead to genetic rearrangements or recombination. It has been postulated that template switching occurs after pauses in the action of reverse transcriptase. Hence factors which affect pausing, such as polymerization rate, may affect the frequency of template switching. To address the hypothesis that increasing the time required to complete reverse transcription increases the frequency of template switching, we established conditions that lengthened the time required to complete a single round of intracellular Moloney murine leukemia virus reverse transcription approximately threefold. Under these conditions, which resulted from intracellular nucleotide pool imbalances generated with hydroxyurea, we examined template switching frequency using a lacZ-based tandem repeat deletion assay. We observed that the frequency of deletion during reverse transcription in hydroxyurea-treated cells was approximately threefold higher than that in untreated control cells. These findings suggest that rates of retroviral recombination may vary when the intracellular environment is altered

Topics: Recombination and Evolution
Publisher: American Society for Microbiology
Year: 1999
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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