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Polge, E ; Darlix, JL ; Paoletti, J ; Fosse, P

Characterization of loose and tight dimer forms of avian leukosis virus RNA

Journal of Molecular Biology 300 (1) 41-56

par Administrateur - publié le

Abstract :

Retroviral genomes consist of two identical RNA molecules joined noncovalently near their 5’-ends. Recently, we showed that an imperfect autocomplementary sequence, located in the L3 domain, plays an essential role in avian sarcoma-leukosis virus (ASLV) RNA dimerization in vitro. This sequence can adopt a stem-loop structure and is involved in ASLV replication. Here, we found that in the absence of nucleocapsid protein, RNA transcripts of avian leukosis virus (ALV) were able to form two types of dimers in vitro that differ in their stability : a loose dimer, formed at a physiological temperature, and a tight dimer, formed at a high temperature. A mutational analysis was performed to define the features of these dimers. The results of this analysis unambiguously confirm that the two L3 stem-loops interact directly in both types of dimers. A loop-loop interaction is the main linkage in the loose dimer. In contrast, in the tight dimer, the stem and the loop of the L3 hairpin form an extended duplex. Surprisingly, we also found that the dimerization properties defined for our ALV strain (type SR-A) differ from those found in other ASLV strains. (C) 2000 Academic Press.