Retroviruses use a cellular tRNA molecule as primer for reverse transcription. The complementarity between the 3' end of this tRNA and a sequence near the 5' end of the viral RNA, the primer-binding site (PBS), allows the primer to anneal onto the viral RNA. During reverse transcription 18 nucleotides of the tRNA primer are copied into the viral cDNA, thereby regenerating the PBS sequence of the progeny. Thus, the PBS sequence reveals which primer was used. Human immunodeficiency viruses are known to replicate efficiently with tRNA(Lys3) as primer. Examination of the PBS sequence in natural and laboratory isolates indicates that a variant tRNA(Lys) is occasionally used as primer. This variant, for which the murine genomic sequence was described previously, was termed tRNA(Lys5) and differs from tRNA(Lys3) at five nucleotide positions. These results suggest that HIV uses both tRNA(Lys3) and tRNA(Lys5) molecules as primer, causing a switch of the PBS sequence.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Most cited this month Most Cited RSS feed

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error