1887

Abstract

Genetic recombination is an important mechanism of retrovirus variation and diversity. Size variation in the surface (SU) glycoprotein, characterized by duplication and insertion, has been observed during infection with several lentiviruses, including bovine immunodeficiency virus (BIV), equine infectious anaemia virus (EIAV) and human immunodeficiency virus type 1. These duplication/insertion events are thought to occur through a mechanism of template switching/strand transfer during reverse transcription. Studies of RNA recombination in a number of virus systems indicate that -acting sequences can modulate the frequency of template switching/strand transfer. The size variable region of EIAV and BIV SU glycoproteins was examined and an AU-rich region and regions of nucleotide sequence identity that may facilitate template switching/strand transfer were identified. An strand transfer assay using donor and acceptor templates derived from the size variable region in BIV detected both precise and imprecise strand transfer products, in addition to full-length products. Sequence analysis of clones obtained from imprecise strand transfer products showed that 87·5% had crossover sites within 10 nt of the crossover site observed . Mutations in the donor template which altered either the AU-rich region or nucleotide sequence identity dramatically decreased the frequency of imprecise strand transfer. Together, these results suggest that -acting elements can modulate non-homologous recombination events during reverse transcription and may contribute to the genetic and biological diversity of lentiviruses .

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2001-12-01
2019-10-18
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