Integration of retroviral DNA is a site-specific reaction involving an endonuclease encoded by the viral pol gene (pol-endo). In vitro the pol-endo from avian sarcoma and leukosis viruses (ASLVs) cleaves both DNA strands near the U5-U3 junction of tandem long terminal repeats (LTR-LTR junction) in single-stranded and replicative form (RF)-I substrates. We have reported previously that the sequences that are required for cleavage of single-stranded substrates by the αβ form of the pol-endo differ for the plus and minus strands (G. Duyk, M. Longiaru, D. Cobrinik, R. Kowal, P. deHaseth, A.M. Skalka, and J. Leis, J. Virol. 56:589-599, 1985). This is not the case with RF-I substrates, in which a maximum of 22 base pairs of U5 and 8 base pairs of U3 were required for αβ pol-endo cleavage in each strand. Insertion of a palindromic octanucleotide (CATCGATG) at the LTR-LTR junction abolished cleavage in RF-I but not in single-stranded DNA substrates. Deletion of the four nucleotides (TTAA) at the junction prevented cleavage in RF-I but not in single-stranded DNA substrates. Deletion of the four nucleotides (TTAA) at the junction prevented cleavage in the plus strand of RF-I DNA, but did not affect cleavage of single-stranded DNA. Furthermore, the αβ form of ASLV pol-endo did not recognize heterologous LTR-LTR junction sequences from the reticuloendotheliosis virus or Moloney murine leukemia virus in either substrate form, despite their sequence and structural similarities to the ASLV junction. These results support a role for a sequence-specific interaction between the ASLV pol-endo and the LTR-LTR junction domains that are required for cleavage. By using the infectious Rous sarcoma virus clone pATV8-K, we introduced a set of deletions into the U5 region that would be incorporated into the LTR-LTR junction on viral replication. In the unintegrated provirus, the deletions started 43 base pairs from the LTR-LTR junction and extended various lengths toward the junction. Results of transfection studies with these clones indicated that the U5 sequences that are required for virus production in vivo correspond to those that are required for cleavage of RF-I DNA in vitro.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science