Intrinsic conformational dynamics of the HIV-1 genomic RNA 5'UTR.
ABSTRACT: The highly conserved 5' untranslated region (5'UTR) of the HIV-1 RNA genome is central to the regulation of virus replication. NMR and biochemical experiments support a model in which the 5'UTR can transition between at least two conformational states. In one state the genome remains a monomer, as the palindromic dimerization initiation site (DIS) is sequestered via base pairing to upstream sequences. In the second state, the DIS is exposed, and the genome is competent for kissing loop dimerization and packaging into assembling virions where an extended dimer is formed. According to this model the conformation of the 5'UTR determines the fate of the genome. In this work, the dynamics of this proposed conformational switch and the factors that regulate it were probed using multiple single-molecule and in-gel ensemble FRET assays. Our results show that the HIV-1 5'UTR intrinsically samples conformations that are stabilized by both viral and host factor binding. Annealing of tRNALys3, the primer for initiation of reverse transcription, can promote the kissing dimer but not the extended dimer. In contrast, HIV-1 nucleocapsid (NC) promotes formation of the extended dimer in both the absence and presence of tRNALys3 Our data are consistent with an ordered series of events that involves primer annealing, genome dimerization, and virion assembly.
Project description:The HIV-1 dimerization initiation sequence (DIS) is a conserved palindrome in the apical loop of a conserved hairpin motif in the 5'-untranslated region of its RNA genome. DIS hairpin plays an important role in genome dimerization by forming a 'kissing complex' between two complementary hairpins. Understanding the kinetics of this interaction is key to exploiting DIS as a possible human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) drug target. Here, we present a single-molecule Förster resonance energy transfer (smFRET) study of the dimerization reaction kinetics. Our data show the real-time formation and dissociation dynamics of individual kissing complexes, as well as the formation of the mature extended duplex complex that is ultimately required for virion packaging. Interestingly, the single-molecule trajectories reveal the presence of a previously unobserved bent intermediate required for extended duplex formation. The universally conserved A272 is essential for the formation of this intermediate, which is stabilized by Mg(2+), but not by K(+) cations. We propose a 3D model of a possible bent intermediate and a minimal dimerization pathway consisting of three steps with two obligatory intermediates (kissing complex and bent intermediate) and driven by Mg(2+) ions.
Project description:The dimer initiation site (DIS) hairpin of the HIV-2 untranslated leader RNA mediates in vitro dimerization through 'loop-loop kissing' of a loop-exposed palindrome sequence. Premature RNA dimerization must be prevented during the retroviral life cycle. A regulatory mechanism has been proposed for the HIV-1 leader RNA that can adopt an alternative conformation in which the DIS motif is effectively masked by long-distance base pairing with upstream leader sequences. We now report that HIV-2 RNA dimerization is also regulated. Sequestering of the DIS motif by base pairing interactions with downstream leader sequences mediates a switch to a dimerization-impaired conformation. The existence of two alternative conformations of the HIV-2 leader RNA is supported by UV melting experiments. Furthermore, the equilibrium between the two conformations can be shifted by annealing of antisense oligonucleotides or by deletion of certain leader regions. These measures have a profound impact on the dimerization properties of the transcript, demonstrating a mutual exclusivity between the alternative conformation and dimerization, similar to what has been described for the HIV-1 leader. The overall resemblance in regulation of HIV-1 and HIV-2 RNA dimerization suggests that a similar mechanism may be operating in other lentiviruses and perhaps all retroviridae.
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:We develop a statistical mechanical model to predict the structure and folding stability of the RNA/RNA kissing-loop complex. One of the key ingredients of the theory is the conformational entropy for the RNA/RNA kissing complex. We employ the recently developed virtual bond-based RNA folding model (Vfold model) to evaluate the entropy parameters for the different types of kissing loops. A benchmark test against experiments suggests that the entropy calculation is reliable. As an application of the model, we apply the model to investigate the structure and folding thermodynamics for the kissing complex of the HIV-1 dimerization initiation signal. With the physics-based energetic parameters, we compute the free energy landscape for the HIV-1 dimer. From the energy landscape, we identify two minimal free energy structures, which correspond to the kissing-loop dimer and the extended-duplex dimer, respectively. The results support the two-step dimerization process for the HIV-1 replication cycle. Furthermore, based on the Vfold model and energy minimization, the theory can predict the native structure as well as the local minima in the free energy landscape. The root-mean-square deviations (RMSDs) for the predicted kissing-loop dimer and extended-duplex dimer are ~3.0 Å. The method developed here provides a new method to study the RNA/RNA kissing complex.
Project description:Retroviruses selectively package two copies of their unspliced genomes by what appears to be a dimerization-dependent RNA packaging mechanism. Dimerization of human immunodeficiency virus Type-1 (HIV-1) genomes is initiated by "kissing" interactions between GC-rich palindromic loop residues of a conserved hairpin (DIS), and is indirectly promoted by long-range base pairing between residues overlapping the gag start codon (AUG) and an upstream Unique 5' element (U5). The DIS and U5:AUG structures are phylogenetically conserved among divergent retroviruses, suggesting conserved functions. However, some studies suggest that the DIS of HIV-2 does not participate in dimerization, and that U5:AUG pairing inhibits, rather than promotes, genome dimerization. We prepared RNAs corresponding to native and mutant forms of the 5' leaders of HIV-1 (NL4-3 strain), HIV-2 (ROD strain), and two divergent strains of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV; cpz-TAN1 and -US strains), and probed for potential roles of the DIS and U5:AUG base pairing on intrinsic and NC-dependent dimerization by mutagenesis, gel electrophoresis, and NMR spectroscopy.Dimeric forms of the native HIV-2 and SIV leaders were only detectable using running buffers that contained Mg(2+), indicating that these dimers are more labile than that of the HIV-1 leader. Mutations designed to promote U5:AUG base pairing promoted dimerization of the HIV-2 and SIV RNAs, whereas mutations that prevented U5:AUG pairing inhibited dimerization. Chimeric HIV-2 and SIV leader RNAs containing the dimer-promoting loop of HIV-1 (DIS) exhibited HIV-1 leader-like dimerization properties, whereas an HIV-1NL4-3 mutant containing the SIVcpzTAN1 DIS loop behaved like the SIVcpzTAN1 leader. The cognate NC proteins exhibited varying abilities to promote dimerization of the retroviral leader RNAs, but none were able to convert labile dimers to non-labile dimers.The finding that U5:AUG formation promotes dimerization of the full-length HIV-1, HIV-2, SIVcpzUS, and SIVcpzTAN1 5' leaders suggests that these retroviruses utilize a common RNA structural switch mechanism to modulate function. Differences in native and NC-dependent dimerization propensity and lability are due to variations in the compositions of the DIS loop residues rather than other sequences within the leader RNAs. Although NC is a well-known RNA chaperone, its role in dimerization has the hallmarks of a classical riboswitch.
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.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The genome of retroviruses, including HIV-1, is packaged as two homologous (+) strand RNA molecules, noncovalently associated close to their 5'-end in a region called dimer linkage structure (DLS). Retroviral HIV-1 genomic RNAs dimerize through complex interactions between dimerization initiation sites (DIS) within the (5'-UTR). Dimer formation is prevented by so calledLong Distance Interaction (LDI) conformation, whereas Branched Multiple Hairpin (BMH) conformation leads to spontaneous dimerization. METHODS AND RESULTS: We evaluated the role of SL1 (DIS), PolyA Hairpin signal and a long distance U5-AUG interaction by in-vitro dimerization, conformer assay and coupled dimerization and template-switching assays using antisense PNAs. Our data suggests evidence that PNAs targeted against SL1 produced severe inhibitory effect on dimerization and template-switching processes while PNAs targeted against U5 region do not show significant effect on dimerization and template switching, while PNAs targeted against AUG region showed strong inhibition of dimerization and template switching processes. CONCLUSIONS: Our results demonstrate that PNA can be used successfully as an antisense to inhibit dimerization and template switching process in HIV -1 and both of the processes are closely linked to each other. Different PNA oligomers have ability of switching between two thermodynamically stable forms. PNA targeted against DIS and SL1 switch, LDI conformer to more dimerization friendly BMH form. PNAs targeted against PolyA haipin configuration did not show a significant change in dimerization and template switching process. The PNA oligomer directed against the AUG strand of U5-AUG duplex structure also showed a significant reduction in RNA dimerization as well as template- switching efficiency.The antisense PNA oligomers can be used to regulate the shift in the LDI/BMH equilibrium.
Project description:Owing to a striking, and most likely fortuitous, structural and sequence similarity with the bacterial 16 S ribosomal A site, the RNA kissing-loop complex formed by the HIV-1 genomic RNA dimerization initiation site (DIS) specifically binds 4,5-disubstituted 2-deoxystreptamine (2-DOS) aminoglycoside antibiotics. We used chemical probing, molecular modeling, isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC) and UV melting to investigate aminoglycoside binding to the DIS loop-loop complex. We showed that apramycin, an aminoglycoside containing a bicyclic moiety, also binds the DIS, but in a different way than 4,5-disubstituted 2-DOS aminoglycosides. The determination of thermodynamic parameters for various aminoglycosides revealed the role of the different rings in the drug-RNA interaction. Surprisingly, we found that the affinity of lividomycin and neomycin for the DIS (K(d) approximately 30 nM) is significantly higher than that obtained in the same experimental conditions for their natural target, the bacterial A site (K(d) approximately 1.6 microM). In good agreement with their respective affinity, aminoglycoside increase the melting temperature of the loop-loop interaction and also block the conversion from kissing-loop complex to extended duplex. Taken together, our data might be useful for selecting new molecules with improved specificity and affinity toward the HIV-1 DIS RNA.
Project description:During replication of long terminal repeat (LTR)-retrotransposons, their proteins and genome (g) RNA assemble into virus-like particles (VLPs) that are not infectious but functionally related to retroviral virions. Both virions and VLPs contain gRNA in a dimeric form, but contrary to retroviruses, little is known about how gRNA dimerization and packaging occurs in LTR-retrotransposons. The LTR-retrotransposon Ty1 from Saccharomyces cerevisiae is an informative model for studying LTR-retrotransposon and retrovirus replication. Using structural, mutational and functional analyses, we explored dimerization of Ty1 genomic RNA. We provide direct evidence that interactions of self-complementary PAL1 and PAL2 palindromic sequences localized within the 5'UTR are essential for Ty1 gRNA dimer formation. Mutations disrupting PAL1-PAL2 complementarity restricted RNA dimerization in vitro and Ty1 mobility in vivo. Although dimer formation and mobility of these mutants was inhibited, our work suggests that Ty1 RNA can dimerize via alternative contact points. In contrast to previous studies, we cannot confirm a role for PAL3, tRNAiMet as well as recently proposed initial kissing-loop interactions in dimer formation. Our data also supports the critical role of Ty1 Gag in RNA dimerization. Mature Ty1 Gag binds in the proximity of sequences involved in RNA dimerization and tRNAiMet annealing, but the 5' pseudoknot in Ty1 RNA may constitute a preferred Gag-binding site. Taken together, these results expand our understanding of genome dimerization and packaging strategies utilized by LTR-retroelements.
Project description:The nature of specific RNA-RNA and protein-RNA interactions involved in the process of genome dimerization and isomerization in HIV-1, which is mediated in vitro by stemloop 1 (SL1) of the packaging signal and by the nucleocapsid (NC) domain of the viral Gag polyprotein, was investigated by using archetypical nucleic acid ligands as noncovalent probes. Small-molecule ligands make contact with their target substrates through complex combinations of H-bonds, salt bridges, and hydrophobic interactions. Therefore, their binding patterns assessed by electrospray ionization mass spectrometry can provide valuable insights into the factors determining specific recognition between species involved in biopolymer assemblies. In the case of SL1, dimerization and isomerization create unique structural features capable of sustaining stable interactions with classic nucleic acid ligands. The binding modes exhibited by intercalators and minor groove binders were adversely affected by the significant distortion of the duplex formed by palindrome annealing in the kissing-loop (KL) dimer, whereas the modes observed for the corresponding extended duplex (ED) confirmed a more regular helical structure. Consistent with the ability to establish electrostatic interactions with highly negative pockets typical of helix anomalies, polycationic aminoglycosides bound to the stem-bulge motif conserved in all SL1 conformers, to the unpaired nucleotides located at the hinge between kissing hairpins in KL, and to the exposed bases flanking the palindrome duplex in ED. The patterns afforded by intercalators and minor groove binders did not display detectable variations when the corresponding NC-SL1 complexes were submitted to probing. In contrast, aminoglycosides displayed the ability to compete with the protein for overlapping sites, producing opposite effects on the isomerization process. Indeed, displacing NC from the stem-bulges of the KL dimer induced inhibition of stem melting and decreased the efficiency of isomerization. Competition for the hinge region, instead, eliminated the NC stabilization of a grip motif formed by nucleobases of opposite strands, thus facilitating the strand-exchange required for isomerization. These noncovalent probes provided further evidence that the structural context of the actual binding sites has significant influence on the chaperone activities of NC, which should be taken in account when developing potential drug candidates aimed at disrupting genome dimerization and isomerization in HIV-1.