1887

Abstract

Expression of the -encoded proteins of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) requires a programmed –1 ribosomal frameshift at the junction of the and coding sequences. Frameshifting takes place at a heptanucleotide slippery sequence, UUUUUUA, and is enhanced by a stimulatory RNA structure located immediately downstream. In patients undergoing viral protease (PR) inhibitor therapy, a p1/p6 L449F cleavage site (CS) mutation is often observed in resistant isolates and frequently generates, at the nucleotide sequence level, a homopolymeric and potentially slippery sequence (UUUUCUU to UUUUUUU). The mutation is located within the stimulatory RNA downstream of the authentic slippery sequence and could act to augment levels of -encoded enzymes to counteract the PR deficit. Here, RNA secondary structure probing was employed to investigate the structure of a CS-containing frameshift signal, and the effect of this mutation on ribosomal frameshift efficiency and in tissue culture cells was determined. A second mutation, a GGG insertion in the loop of the stimulatory RNA that could conceivably lead to resistance by enhancing the activity of the structure, was also tested. It was found, however, that the CS and GGG mutations had only a very modest effect on the structure and activity of the HIV-1 frameshift signal. Thus the increased resistance to viral protease inhibitors seen with HIV-1 isolates containing mutations in the frameshifting signal is unlikely to be accounted for solely by enhancement of frameshift efficiency.

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2007-01-01
2019-10-24
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vol. , part 1, pp. 226-235

A table of oligonucleotides used in this study is available hereas an Acrobat PDF file.



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