1887

Abstract

To clarify the physiological function of two zinc-finger (ZF) motifs in the nucleocapsid (NC) protein of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), we constructed three mutant viruses with alterations in either or both motifs using a molecular clone of SIVmac (SIVmac239). An immunoblot analysis of the cell lysates transfected with DNA mutated in either the first (ZF1) or second (ZF2) motif showed that the amount of partially processed Gag products (Pr46) was greater than that produced by the wild-type (WT). The genomic RNA contents in the viral particles released from the transfected cells were measured by quantitative RT-PCR. Values for the ZF1 and ZF2 mutants and the double mutant were 26, 20 and 7 % that of the WT, respectively, indicating that the two ZF motifs of SIVmac239 NC protein function almost equivalently with respect to RNA encapsidation and processing of Gag precursors. Despite the presence of some genomic RNA in the mutant viruses, they lost all viral infectivity. To determine the reason for this, we examined (using PCR) to which step viral DNA synthesis proceeded in the mutant viruses. We did not see any block up to the step of minus-strand DNA synthesis. However, plus-strand DNA synthesis after plus-strand transfer did not occur in any of the mutant viruses. These findings indicated that the mutations in the ZF motifs of SIVmac led to a loss of infectivity due partly to impairment of DNA synthesis, in addition to inefficient encapsidation of genomic RNA.

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2003-06-01
2019-10-18
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