Single-molecule study of DNA polymerization activity of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase on DNA templates.
ABSTRACT: HIV-1 RT (human immunodeficiency virus-1 reverse transcriptase) is a multifunctional polymerase responsible for reverse transcription of the HIV genome, including DNA replication on both RNA and DNA templates. During reverse transcription in vivo, HIV-1 RT replicates through various secondary structures on RNA and single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) templates without the need for a nucleic acid unwinding protein, such as a helicase. In order to understand the mechanism of polymerization through secondary structures, we investigated the DNA polymerization activity of HIV-1 RT on long ssDNA templates using a multiplexed single-molecule DNA flow-stretching assay. We observed that HIV-1 RT performs fast primer extension DNA synthesis on single-stranded regions of DNA (18.7 nt/s) and switches its activity to slow strand displacement synthesis at DNA hairpin locations (2.3 nt/s). Furthermore, we found that the rate of strand displacement synthesis is dependent on the GC content in hairpin stems and template stretching force. This indicates that the strand displacement synthesis occurs through a mechanism that is neither completely active nor passive: that is, the opening of the DNA hairpin is driven by a combination of free energy released during dNTP (deoxyribonucleotide triphosphate) hydrolysis and thermal fraying of base pairs. Our experimental observations provide new insight into the interchanging modes of DNA replication by HIV-1 RT on long ssDNA templates.
Project description:The reverse transcriptase (RT) of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) catalyzes a series of reactions to convert single-stranded viral RNA into double-stranded DNA for host cell integration. This process requires a variety of enzymatic activities, including DNA polymerization, RNA cleavage, strand transfer, and strand displacement synthesis. We used single-molecule fluorescence resonance energy transfer to probe the interactions between RT and nucleic acid substrates in real time. RT was observed to slide on nucleic acid duplexes, rapidly shuttling between opposite termini of the duplex. Upon reaching the DNA 3' terminus, RT can spontaneously flip into a polymerization orientation. Sliding kinetics were regulated by cognate nucleotides and anti-HIV drugs, which stabilized and destabilized the polymerization mode, respectively. These long-range translocation activities facilitate multiple stages of the reverse transcription pathway, including normal DNA polymerization and strand displacement synthesis.
Project description:During (-) strong-stop DNA [(-) SSDNA] synthesis, RNase H cleavage of genomic viral RNA generates small 5'-terminal RNA fragments (14-18 nt) that remain annealed to the DNA. Unless these fragments are removed, the minus-strand transfer reaction, required for (-) SSDNA elongation, cannot occur. Here, we describe the mechanism of 5'-terminal RNA removal and the roles of HIV-1 nucleocapsid protein (NC) and RNase H cleavage in this process. Using an NC-dependent system that models minus-strand transfer, we show that the presence of short terminal fragments pre-annealed to (-) SSDNA has no impact on strand transfer, implying efficient fragment removal. Moreover, in reactions with an RNase H(-) reverse transcriptase mutant, NC alone is able to facilitate fragment removal, albeit less efficiently than in the presence of both RNase H activity and NC. Results obtained from novel electrophoretic gel mobility shift and Förster Resonance Energy Transfer assays, which each directly measure RNA fragment release from a duplex in the absence of DNA synthesis, demonstrate for the first time that the architectural integrity of NC's zinc finger (ZF) domains is absolutely required for this reaction. This suggests that NC's helix destabilizing activity (associated with the ZFs) facilitates strand exchange through the displacement of these short terminal RNAs by the longer 3' acceptor RNA, which forms a more stable duplex with (-) SSDNA. Taken together with previously published results, we conclude that NC-mediated fragment removal is linked mechanistically with selection of the correct primer for plus-strand DNA synthesis and tRNA removal step prior to plus-strand transfer. Thus, HIV-1 has evolved a single mechanism for these RNA removal reactions that are critical for successful reverse transcription.
Project description:Helicases are molecular motors that use the energy of nucleoside 5'-triphosphate (NTP) hydrolysis to translocate along a nucleic acid strand and catalyse reactions such as DNA unwinding. The ring-shaped helicase of bacteriophage T7 translocates along single-stranded (ss)DNA at a speed of 130 bases per second; however, T7 helicase slows down nearly tenfold when unwinding the strands of duplex DNA. Here, we report that T7 DNA polymerase, which is unable to catalyse strand displacement DNA synthesis by itself, can increase the unwinding rate to 114 base pairs per second, bringing the helicase up to similar speeds compared to its translocation along ssDNA. The helicase rate of stimulation depends upon the DNA synthesis rate and does not rely on specific interactions between T7 DNA polymerase and the carboxy-terminal residues of T7 helicase. Efficient duplex DNA synthesis is achieved only by the combined action of the helicase and polymerase. The strand displacement DNA synthesis by the DNA polymerase depends on the unwinding activity of the helicase, which provides ssDNA template. The rapid trapping of the ssDNA bases by the DNA synthesis activity of the polymerase in turn drives the helicase to move forward through duplex DNA at speeds similar to those observed along ssDNA.
Project description:Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) reverse transcriptase (RT), like all retroviral RTs, is a versatile DNA polymerase that can copy both RNA and DNA templates. In spite of extensive investigations into the structure-function of this enzyme, the structural basis for this dual template specificity is poorly understood. Biochemical studies with two mutations in HIV-1 RT that affect residues contacting the template-primer now provide some insight into this specialized property. The mutations are N255D and N265D, both adjoining the minor groove-binding track, in the thumb region. The N265D substitution led to a loss of processive polymerization on DNA but not on RNA, whereas N255D drastically reduced processive synthesis on both templates. This differential template usage was accompanied by a rapid dissociation of the N265D variant on DNA but not RNA templates, whereas the N255D variant rapidly dissociated from both templates. Molecular dynamics modeling suggested that N265D leads to a loss of template strand-specific hydrogen bonding, indicating that this is a key determinant of the differential template affinity. The N255D substitution caused local changes in conformation and a consequent loss of interaction with the primer, leading to a loss of processive synthesis with both templates. We conclude that N265 is part of a subset of template-enzyme contacts that enable RT to utilize DNA templates in addition to RNA templates and that such residues play an important role in facilitating processive DNA synthesis on both RNA and DNA templates.
Project description:To aid in the characterization of the relationship of structure and function for human immunodeficiency virus type-1 reverse transcriptase (HIV-1 RT), this investigation utilized DNAs containing benzo[a]pyrene-7,8-dihydrodiol-9,10-epoxide (BPDE)-modified primers and templates as a probe of the architecture of this complex. BPDE lesions that differed in their stereochemistry around the C10 position were covalently linked to N (6)-adenine and positioned in either the primer or template strand of a duplex template-primer. HIV-1 RT exhibited a stereoisomer-specific and strand-specific difference in replication when the BPDE-lesion was placed in the template versus the primer strand. When the C10 R-BPDE adduct was positioned in the primer strand in duplex DNA, 5 nucleotides from the 3? end of the primer terminus, HIV-1 RT could not fully replicate the template, producing truncated products; this block to further synthesis did not affect rates of dissociation or DNA binding affinity. Additionally, when the adducts were in the same relative position, but located in the template strand, similar truncated products were observed with both the C10 R and C10 S BPDE adducts. These data suggest that the presence of covalently-linked intercalative DNA adducts distant from the active site can lead to termination of DNA synthesis catalyzed by HIV-1 RT.
Project description:Here we have developed a sensitive DNA amplified detection method based on isothermal strand-displacement polymerization reaction. This method takes advantage of both the hybridization property of DNA and the strand-displacement property of polymerase. Importantly, we demonstrate that our method produces a circular polymerization reaction activated by the target, which essentially allows it to self-detect. Functionally, this DNA system consists of a hairpin fluorescence probe, a short primer and polymerase. Upon recognition and hybridization with the target ssDNA, the stem of the hairpin probe is opened, after which the opened probe anneals with the primer and triggers the polymerization reaction. During this process of the polymerization reaction, a complementary DNA is synthesized and the hybridized target is displaced. Finally, the displaced target recognizes and hybridizes with another probe, triggering the next round of polymerization reaction, reaching a target detection limit of 6.4 x 10(-15) M.
Project description:The strand displacement activity of DNA polymerase ? is strongly stimulated by its interaction with proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA). However, inactivation of the 3'-5' exonuclease activity is sufficient to allow the polymerase to carry out strand displacement even in the absence of PCNA. We have examined in vitro the basic biochemical properties that allow Pol ?-exo(-) to carry out strand displacement synthesis and discovered that it is regulated by the 5'-flaps in the DNA strand to be displaced. Under conditions where Pol ? carries out strand displacement synthesis, the presence of long 5'-flaps or addition in trans of ssDNA suppress this activity. This suggests the presence of a secondary DNA binding site on the enzyme that is responsible for modulation of strand displacement activity. The inhibitory effect of a long 5'-flap can be suppressed by its interaction with single-stranded DNA binding proteins. However, this relief of flap-inhibition does not simply originate from binding of Replication Protein A to the flap and sequestering it. Interaction of Pol ? with PCNA eliminates flap-mediated inhibition of strand displacement synthesis by masking the secondary DNA site on the polymerase. These data suggest that in addition to enhancing the processivity of the polymerase PCNA is an allosteric modulator of other Pol ? activities.
Project description:The two subunits of the feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) reverse transcriptase (RT) were cloned and functionally expressed in Escherichia coli. The recombinant proteins are enzymatically active as homodimers (p66 and p51) as well as a heterodimer p66/p51. The biochemical properties of the FIV RT are very similar to those of the counterpart of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 in being an RNA-dependent and DNA-dependent DNA polymerase. When a double-stranded DNA containing a small gap of 26 nucleotides was tested, we found a new activity of the FIV RT p66/p51 heterodimer--the cat viral enzyme could perform strand displacement DNA synthesis of approximately 300 bases. The FIV RT homodimer p66 alone could carry out limited strand displacement DNA synthesis, but this activity was stimulated by the p51 subunit at a molar ratio of one molecule of p66 to five molecules of p51. On the other hand, the homodimeric p51 itself was unable to fill a small gap of 26 nucleotides in a double-stranded DNA substrate and was not active by itself in strand displacement DNA synthesis. These data are in agreement with an earlier finding of strand displacement DNA synthesis by human immunodeficiency virus type 1 RT (M. Hottiger, V.N. Podust, R.L. Thimmig, C.S. McHenry, and U. Hübscher. J. Biol. Chem. 269:986-991, 1994). Our data therefore suggest a general and important function of lentiviral p51 subunits in strand displacement DNA synthesis which appears to be required in later stages of the lentiviral replication cycle, when DNA-dependent DNA synthesis occurs on double-stranded DNA.
Project description:Genome duplication requires not only unwinding of the template but also the displacement of proteins bound to the template, a function performed by replicative helicases located at the fork. However, accessory helicases are also needed since the replicative helicase stalls occasionally at nucleoprotein complexes. In Escherichia coli, the primary and accessory helicases DnaB and Rep translocate along the lagging and leading strand templates, respectively, interact physically and also display cooperativity in the unwinding of model forked DNA substrates. We demonstrate here that this cooperativity is displayed only by Rep and not by other tested helicases. ssDNA must be exposed on the leading strand template to elicit this cooperativity, indicating that forks blocked at protein-DNA complexes contain ssDNA ahead of the leading strand polymerase. However, stable Rep-DnaB complexes can form on linear as well as branched DNA, indicating that Rep has the capacity to interact with ssDNA on either the leading or the lagging strand template at forks. Inhibition of Rep binding to the lagging strand template by competition with SSB might therefore be critical in targeting accessory helicases to the leading strand template, indicating an important role for replisome architecture in promoting accessory helicase function at blocked replisomes.
Project description:HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT) catalyzes the synthesis of DNA from DNA or RNA templates. During this process, it must transfer its primer from one template to another RNA or DNA template. Binary complexes made of RT and a primer/template bind an additional single-stranded RNA molecule of the same nucleotide sequence as that of the DNA or RNA template. The additional RNA strand leads to a 10-fold decrease of the off-rate constant, koff, of RT from a primer/DNA template. In a binary complex of RT and a primer/template, the primer can be cross-linked to both the p66 and p51 subunits. Depending on the location of the photoreactive group in the primer, the distribution of the cross-linked primers between subunits is dependent on the nature of the template and of the additional single-stranded molecule. Greater cross-linking of the primer to p51 occurs with DNA templates, whereas cross-linking to p66 predominates with RNA templates. Excess single-stranded DNA shifts the distribution of cross-linking from p66 to p51 with RNA templates, and excess single-stranded RNA shifts the cross-linking from p51 to p66 with DNA templates. RT thus uses two primer/template binding modes depending on the nature of the template.