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Mutations in the kissing-loop hairpin of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 reduce viral infectivity as well as genomic RNA packaging and dimerization.

By M Laughrea, L Jetté, J Mak, L Kleiman, C Liang and M A Wainberg


A stem-loop termed the kissing-loop hairpin is one of the most highly conserved structures within the leader of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and chimpanzee immunodeficiency virus genomic RNA. Because it plays a key role in the in vitro dimerization of short HIV-1 RNA transcripts (M. Laughrea and L. Jette, Biochemistry 35:1589-1598, 1996, and references therein; M. Laughrea and L. Jette, Biochemistry 35:9366-9374, 1996, and references therein) and because dimeric RNAs may be preferably encapsidated into the HIV-1 virus, alterations of the kissing-loop hairpin might affect the in vivo dimerization and encapsidation processes. Accordingly, substitution and deletion mutations were introduced into the kissing-loop hairpin of an infectious HIV-1 molecular clone in order to produce viruses by transfection methods. The infectivity of the resulting viruses was decreased by at least 99%, the amount of genomic RNA packaged per virus was decreased by 50 to 75%, and the proportion of dimeric genomic RNA was reduced from >80 to 40 to 50%, but the dissociation temperature of the genomic RNA was unchanged. There is evidence suggesting that the deletion mutations moderately inhibited CAp24 production but had no significant effect on RNA splicing. These results are consistent with the kissing-loop model of HIV-1 RNA dimerization. In fact, because intracellular viral RNAs are probably more concentrated in transfected cells than in cells infected by one virus and because the dimerization and encapsidation processes are concentration dependent, it is likely that much larger dimerization and encapsidation defects would have been manifested within cells infected by no more than one virus

Topics: Research Article
Year: 1997
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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