HIV-2 RNA dimerization is regulated by intramolecular interactions in vitro.
ABSTRACT: Genomic RNA dimerization is an essential process in the retroviral replication cycle. In vitro, HIV-2 RNA dimerization is mediated at least in part by direct intermolecular interaction at stem-loop 1 (SL1) within the 5'-untranslated leader region (UTR). RNA dimerization is thought to be regulated via alternate presentation and sequestration of dimerization signals by intramolecular base-pairings. One of the proposed regulatory elements is a palindrome sequence (pal) located upstream of SL1. To investigate the role of pal in the regulation of HIV-2 dimerization, we randomized this motif and selected in vitro for dimerization-competent and dimerization-impaired RNAs. Energy minimization folding analysis of these isolated sequences suggests the involvement of pal region in several short-distance intramolecular interactions with other upstream and downstream regions of the UTR. Moreover, the consensus predicted folding patterns indicate the altered presentation of SL1 depending on the interactions of pal with other regions of RNA. The data suggest that pal can act as a positive or negative regulator of SL1-mediated dimerization and that the modulation of base-pairing arrangements that affect RNA dimerization could coordinate multiple signals located within the 5'-UTR.
Project description:The packaging signal (psi) of human immunodeficiency virus type 2 (HIV-2) is present in the 5' noncoding region of RNA and contains a 10-nucleotide palindrome (pal; 5'-392-GGAGUGCUCC) located upstream of the dimerization signal stem-loop 1 (SL1). pal has been shown to be functionally important in vitro and in vivo. We previously showed that the 3' side of pal (GCUCC-3') is involved in base-pairing interactions with a sequence downstream of SL1 to make an extended SL1, which is important for replication in vivo and the regulation of dimerization in vitro. However, the role of the 5' side of pal (5'-GGAGU) was less clear. Here, we characterized this role using an in vivo SELEX approach. We produced a population of HIV-2 DNA genomes with random sequences within the 5' side of pal and transfected these into COS-7 cells. Viruses from COS-7 cells were used to infect C8166 permissive cells. After several weeks of serial passage in C8166 cells, surviving viruses were sequenced. On the 5' side of pal there was a striking convergence toward a GGRGN consensus sequence. Individual clones with consensus and nonconsensus sequences were tested in infectivity and packaging assays. Analysis of individuals that diverged from the consensus sequence showed normal viral RNA and protein synthesis but had replication defects and impaired RNA packaging. These findings clearly indicate that the GGRG motif is essential for viral replication and genomic RNA packaging.
Project description:Genomic RNA dimerization is an important process in the formation of an infectious lentiviral particle. One of the signals involved is the stem-loop 1 (SL1) element located in the leader region of lentiviral genomic RNAs which also plays a role in encapsidation and reverse transcription. Recent studies revealed that HIV types 1 and 2 leader RNAs adopt different conformations that influence the presentation of RNA signals such as SL1. To determine whether common mechanisms of SL1 regulation exist among divergent lentiviral leader RNAs, here we compare the dimerization properties of SIVmac239, HIV-1, and HIV-2 leader RNA fragments using homologous constructs and experimental conditions. Prior studies from several groups have employed a variety of constructs and experimental conditions.Although some idiosyncratic differences in the dimerization details were observed, we find unifying principles in the regulation strategies of the three viral RNAs through long- and short-range base pairing interactions. Presentation and efficacy of dimerization through SL1 depends strongly upon the formation or dissolution of the lower stem of SL1 called stem B. SL1 usage may also be down-regulated by long-range interactions involving sequences between SL1 and the first codons of the gag gene.Despite their sequence differences, all three lentiviral RNAs tested in this study showed a local regulation of dimerization through the stabilization of SL1.
Project description:RNA dimerization is an essential step in the retroviral life cycle. Dimerization and encapsidation signals, closely linked in HIV-2, are located in the leader RNA region. The SL1 motif and nucleocapsid protein are considered important for both processes. In this study, we show the structure of the HIV-2 leader RNA (+1-560) captured as a loose dimer. Potential structural rearrangements within the leader RNA were studied. In the loose dimer form, the HIV-2 leader RNA strand exists in vitro as a single global fold. Two kissing loop interfaces within the loose dimer were identified: SL1/SL1 and TAR/TAR. Evidence for these findings is provided by RNA probing using SHAPE, chemical reagents, enzymes, non-denaturing PAGE mobility assays, antisense oligonucleotides hybridization and analysis of an RNA mutant. Both TAR and SL1 as isolated domains are bound by recombinant NCp8 protein with high affinity, contrary to the hairpins downstream of SL1. Foot-printing of the SL1/NCp8 complex indicates that the major binding site maps to the SL1 upper stem. Taken together, these data suggest a model in which TAR hairpin III, the segment of SL1 proximal to the loop and the PAL palindromic sequence play specific roles in the initiation of dimerization.
Project description:Genomic RNA encapsidation in lentiviruses is a highly selective and regulated process. The unspliced RNA molecules are selected for encapsidation from a pool of many different viral and cellular RNA species. Moreover, two molecules are encapsidated per viral particle, where they are found associated as a dimer. In this study, we demonstrate that a 10-nucleotide palindromic sequence (pal) located at the 3' end of the psi encapsidation signal is critical for human immunodeficiency virus type 2 (HIV-2) replication and affects genomic RNA encapsidation. We used short-term and long-term culture of pal-mutated viruses in permissive C8166 cells and their phenotypic reversion to show the existence of a structurally extended SL1 during HIV-2 replication, formed by the interaction of the 3' end of the pal within psi with a motif located downstream of SL1. The stem extending HIV-2 SL1 is structurally similar to stem B described for HIV-1 SL1. Despite the high degree of phylogenetic conservation, these results show that mutant viruses are viable when the autocomplementary nature of the pal sequence is disrupted, but not without a stable stem B. Our observations show that formation of the extended SL1 is necessary during viral replication and positively affects HIV-2 genomic RNA encapsidation. Sequestration of part of the packaging signal into SL1 may be a means of regulating its presentation during the replication cycle.
Project description:BACKGROUND: One of the hallmarks of retroviral life cycle is the efficient and specific packaging of two copies of retroviral gRNA in the form of a non-covalent RNA dimer by the assembling virions. It is becoming increasingly clear that the process of dimerization is closely linked with gRNA packaging, and in some retroviruses, the latter depends on the former. Earlier mutational analysis of the 5' end of the MMTV genome indicated that MMTV gRNA packaging determinants comprise sequences both within the 5' untranslated region (5' UTR) and the beginning of gag. RESULTS: The RNA secondary structure of MMTV gRNA packaging sequences was elucidated employing selective 2'hydroxyl acylation analyzed by primer extension (SHAPE). SHAPE analyses revealed the presence of a U5/Gag long-range interaction (U5/Gag LRI), not predicted by minimum free-energy structure predictions that potentially stabilizes the global structure of this region. Structure conservation along with base-pair covariations between different strains of MMTV further supported the SHAPE-validated model. The 5' region of the MMTV gRNA contains multiple palindromic (pal) sequences that could initiate intermolecular interaction during RNA dimerization. In vitro RNA dimerization, SHAPE analysis, and structure prediction approaches on a series of pal mutants revealed that MMTV RNA utilizes a palindromic point of contact to initiate intermolecular interactions between two gRNAs, leading to dimerization. This contact point resides within pal II (5' CGGCCG 3') at the 5' UTR and contains a canonical "GC" dyad and therefore likely constitutes the MMTV RNA dimerization initiation site (DIS). Further analyses of these pal mutants employing in vivo genetic approaches indicate that pal II, as well as pal sequences located in the primer binding site (PBS) are both required for efficient MMTV gRNA packaging. CONCLUSIONS: Employing structural prediction, biochemical, and genetic approaches, we show that pal II functions as a primary point of contact between two MMTV RNAs, leading to gRNA dimerization and its subsequent encapsidation into the assembling virus particles. The results presented here enhance our understanding of the MMTV gRNA dimerization and packaging processes and the role of structural motifs with respect to RNA-RNA and possibly RNA-protein interactions that might be taking place during MMTV life cycle.
Project description:As a retrovirus, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) packages two copies of the RNA genome as a dimer in the infectious virion. Dimerization is initiated at the dimer initiation site (DIS) which encompasses stem-loop 1 (SL1) in the 5'-UTR of the genome. Study of genomic dimerization has been facilitated by the discovery that short RNA fragments containing SL1 can dimerize spontaneously without any protein factors. On the basis of the palindromic nature of SL1, a kissing loop model has been proposed. First, a metastable kissing dimer is formed via standard Watson-Crick base pairs and then converted into a more stable extended dimer by the viral nucleocapsid protein (NCp7). This dimer maturation in vitro is believed to mimic initial steps in the RNA maturation in vivo, which is correlated with viral infectivity. We previously discovered a small molecule activator, Lys-Ala-7-amido-4-methylcoumarin (KA-AMC), which facilitates dimer maturation in vitro, and determined aspects of its structure-activity relationship. In this report, we present measurements of the binding affinity of the activators and characterization of their interactions with the SL1 RNA. Guanidinium groups and increasing positive charge on the side chain enhance affinity and activity, but features in the aromatic ring at least partially decouple affinity from activity. Although KA-AMC can bind to multiple structural motifs, the NMR study showed KA-AMC preferentially binds to unique structural motifs, such as the palindromic loop and the G-rich internal loop in the SL1 RNA. NCp7 binds to SL1 only 1 order of magnitude more tightly than the best small molecule ligand tested. This study provides guidelines for the design of superior small molecules that bind to the SL1 RNA that have the potential of being developed as an antiviral by interfering with SL1-NCp7 interaction at the packaging and/or maturation stages.
Project description:The leader RNA of the 5' untranslated region (UTR) of coronaviral genomes contains two stem-loop structures denoted SL1 and SL2. Herein, we show that SL1 is functionally and structurally bipartite. While the upper region of SL1 is required to be paired, we observe strong genetic selection against viruses that contain a deletion of A35, an extrahelical nucleotide that destabilizes SL1, in favor of genomes that contain a diverse panel of destabilizing second-site mutations, due to introduction of a noncanonical base pair near A35. Viruses containing destabilizing SL1-DeltaA35 mutations also contain one of two specific mutations in the 3' UTR. Thermal denaturation and imino proton solvent exchange experiments reveal that the lower half of SL1 is unstable and that second-site SL1-DeltaA35 substitutions are characterized by one or more features of the wild-type SL1. We propose a "dynamic SL1" model, in which the base of SL1 has an optimized lability required to mediate a physical interaction between the 5' UTR and the 3' UTR that stimulates subgenomic RNA synthesis. Although not conserved at the nucleotide sequence level, these general structural characteristics of SL1 appear to be conserved in other coronaviral genomes.
Project description:Hibiscus chlorotic ringspot virus (HCRSV), which belongs to the genus Carmovirus, generates two 3'-coterminal subgenomic RNAs (sgRNAs) of 1.4 kb and 1.7 kb. Transcription start sites of the two sgRNAs were identified at nucleotides (nt) 2178 and 2438, respectively. The full promoter of sgRNA1, a 118-base sequence, is localized between positions +6 and -112 relative to its transcription start site (+1). Similarly, a 132-base sequence, from +6 to -126, defines the sgRNA2 promoter. Computer analysis revealed that both sgRNA promoters share a similar two-stem-loop (SL1 + SL2) structure, immediately upstream of the transcription start site. Mutational analysis of the primary sequence and secondary structures showed further similarities between the two subgenomic promoters. The basal portion of SL2, encompassing the transcription start site, was essential for transcription activity in each promoter, while SL1 and the upper portion of SL2 played a role in transcription enhancement. Both the 5' untranslated region (UTR) and the last 87 nt at the 3' UTR of HCRSV genomic RNA are likely to be the putative genomic plus-strand and minus-strand promoters, respectively. They function well as individual sgRNA promoters to produce ectopic subgenomic RNAs in vivo but not to the same levels of the actual sgRNA promoters. This suggests that HCRSV sgRNA promoters share common features with the promoters for genomic plus-strand and minus-strand RNA synthesis. To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration that both the 5' UTR and part of the 3' UTR can be duplicated and function as sgRNA promoters within a single viral genome.
Project description:Specific binding of HIV-1 viral protein NCp7 to a unique 35-base RNA stem-loop SL1 is critical for formation and packaging of the genomic RNA dimer found within HIV-1 virions. NCp7 binding stimulates refolding of SL1 from a metastable kissing dimer (KD) into thermodynamically stable linear dimer (LD). Using UV melting, gel electrophoresis and heteronuclear NMR, we investigated effects of various site-specific mutations within the full-length SL1 on temperature- or NCp7-induced refolding in vitro. Refolding involved intramolecular melting of SL1 stems but not dissociation of the intermolecular KD interface. Refolding required only two NCp7 molecules per KD but was limited by the amount of NCp7 present, implying that the protein does not catalytically promote refolding. Efficient refolding depended strictly on the presence and, to a lesser degree, on sequence of a highly conserved G-rich internal loop that normally limits thermal stability of the SL1 stem. Adding two base pairs to the lower stem created a hyperstable SL1 mutant that failed to refold, even when bound by NCp7 at high stoichiometries. NMR analysis of these kinetically trapped mutant RNA-protein complexes indicated that NCp7 initiates refolding by dissociating base pairs in the upper stem of SL1. This study illuminates structural transitions critical for HIV-1 assembly and replication.
Project description:The dimer initiation site/dimer linkage sequence (DIS/DLS) region of HIV is located on the 5' end of the viral genome and suggested to form complex secondary/tertiary structures. Within this structure, stem-loop 1 (SL1) is believed to be most important and an essential key to dimerization, since the sequence and predicted secondary structure of SL1 are highly stable and conserved among various virus subtypes. In particular, a six-base palindromic sequence is always present at the hairpin loop of SL1 and the formation of kissing-loop structure at this position between the two strands of genomic RNA is suggested to trigger dimerization. Although the higher-order structure model of SL1 is well accepted and perhaps even undoubted lately, there could be stillroom for consideration to depict the functional SL1 structure while in vivo (in virion or cell).In this study, we performed several analyses to identify the nucleotides and/or basepairing within SL1 which are necessary for HIV-1 genome dimerization, encapsidation, recombination and infectivity. We unexpectedly found that some nucleotides that are believed to contribute the formation of the stem do not impact dimerization or infectivity. On the other hand, we found that one G-C basepair involved in stem formation may serve as an alternative dimer interactive site. We also report on our further investigation of the roles of the palindromic sequences on viral replication. Collectively, we aim to assemble a more-comprehensive functional map of SL1 on the HIV-1 viral life cycle.We discovered several possibilities for a novel structure of SL1 in HIV-1 DLS. The newly proposed structure model suggested that the hairpin loop of SL1 appeared larger, and genome dimerization process might consist of more complicated mechanism than previously understood. Further investigations would be still required to fully understand the genome packaging and dimerization of HIV.