Pathogenic strains of viruses that infect humans are encapsulated in membranes derived from the host cell in which they infect. After replication, these viruses are released by a budding process that requires cell/viral membrane scission. As such, this represents a natural target for innate immunity mechanisms to interdict enveloped virus spread and recent advances in this field will be the subject of this paper.
Budding of retroviruses from cell membranes requires ubiquitination of Gag and recruitment of cellular proteins involved in endosome sorting, including endosome sorting complex required for transport III (ESCRT-III) protein complex and vacuolar protein sorting 4 (VPS4) and its ATPase. In response to infection, a cellular mechanism has evolved that blocks virus replication early and late in the budding process through expression of interferon-stimulated gene 15 (ISG15), a dimer homologue of ubiquitin. Interferon treatment of DF-1 cells blocks avian sarcoma/leukosis virus release, demonstrating that this mechanism is functional under physiological conditions. The late block to release is caused in part by a loss in interaction between VPS4 and its coactivator protein LIP5, which is required to promote the formation of the ESCRT III-VPS4 double-hexamer complex to activate its ATPase. ISG15 is conjugated to two different LIP5-ESCRT-III-binding charged multivesicular body proteins, CHMP2A and CHMP5. Upon ISGylation of each, interaction with LIP5 is no longer detected. Two other ESCRT-III proteins, CHMP4B and CHMP6, are also conjugated to ISG15. ISGylation of CHMP2A, CHMP4B, and CHMP6 weakens their binding directly to VPS4, thereby facilitating the release of this protein from the membrane into the cytosol. The remaining budding complex fails to release particles from the cell membrane. Introducing a mutant of ISG15 into cells that cannot be conjugated to proteins prevents the ISG15-dependent mechanism from blocking virus release. CHMP5 is the primary switch to initiate the antiviral mechanism, because removal of CHMP5 from cells prevents ISGylation of CHMP2A and CHMP6.
The release of retroviruses from cells requires ubiquitination of Gag and recruitment of cellular proteins involved in endosome sorting, including the ESCRT-III proteins and the Vps4 ATPase. In response to infection, cells have evolved an interferon-induced mechanism to block virus replication through expression of the interferon-stimulated gene 15 (ISG15), a dimer homologue of ubiquitin, which interferes with ubiquitin pathways in cells. Previously, it has been reported that ISG15 expression inhibited the E3 ubiquitin ligase, Nedd4, and prevented association of the ESCRT-I protein Tsg101 with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) Gag. The budding of avian sarcoma leukosis virus and HIV-1 Gag virus-like particles containing L-domain mutations can be rescued by fusion to ESCRT proteins, which cause entry into the budding pathway beyond these early steps. The release of these fusions from cells was susceptible to inhibition by ISG15, indicating that there was a block late in the budding process. We now demonstrate that the Vps4 protein does not associate with the avian sarcoma leukosis virus or the HIV-1 budding complexes when ISG15 is expressed. This is caused by a loss in interaction between Vps4 with its coactivator protein LIP5 needed to promote the formation of the ESCRT-III-Vps4 double-hexamer complex required for membrane scission and virus release. The inability of LIP5 to interact with Vps4 is the probable result of ISG15 conjugation to the ESCRT-III protein, CHMP5, which regulates the availability of LIP5. Thus, there appear to be multiple levels of ISG15-induced inhibition acting at different stages of the virus release process.
A tetramer model for HIV-1 IN with DNA representing the LTR termini was previously assembled to predict the IN residues that interact with the LTR termini; these predictions were experimentally verified for nine amino acid residues (Chen et al, J. Biol. Chem. 281, 4173-4182 (2006)). In a similar strategy the unique amino acids found in ASV IN rather than HIV-1 or MPMV IN were substituted into the structurally related positions of HIV-1 IN. Substitutions of six additional residues (Q44, L68, E69, D229, S230 and D253) showed changes in the 3′ processing specificity of the enzyme verifying their predicted interaction with the LTR DNA. The newly identified residues extend interactions along a sixteen base pair length of the LTR termini and are consistent with known LTR DNA: HIV-1 IN cross-links. The tetramer model for HIV-1 IN with LTR termini was modified to include two IN binding domains for LEDGF/p75. The target DNA was predicted to bind in a surface trench perpendicular to the plane of the LTR DNA binding sites of HIV-1 IN and extending alongside LEDGF. This hypothesis is supported by the in vitro activity phenotype of HIV-1 IN mutant with a K219S substitution showing loss in strand transfer activity while maintaining 3′ processing on a HIV-1 substrate. Mutations at seven other residues reported in the literature have the same phenotype and all eight residues align along the length of the putative target DNA binding trench.
HIV-1; integrase; model structure; DNA
Successful integration of viral genome into a host chromosome depends on interaction between viral integrase and its recognition sequences. We have used a reconstituted concerted human immunodeficiency virus, type 1 (HIV-1), integration system to analyze the role of integrase (IN) recognition sequences in formation of the IN-viral DNA complex capable of concerted integration. HIV-1 integrase was presented with substrates that contained all 4 bases at 8 mismatched positions that define the inverted repeat relationship between U3 and U5 long terminal repeats (LTR) termini and at positions 17–19, which are conserved in the termini. Evidence presented indicates that positions 17–20 of the IN recognition sequences are needed for a concerted DNA integration mechanism. All 4 bases were found at each randomized position in sequenced concerted DNA integrants, although in some instances there were preferences for specific bases. These results indicate that integrase tolerates a significant amount of plasticity as to what constitutes an IN recognition sequence. By having several positions randomized, the concerted integrants were examined for statistically significant relationships between selections of bases at different positions. The results of this analysis show not only relationships between different positions within the same LTR end but also between different positions belonging to opposite DNA termini.
Retroviruses have evolved a mechanism for the release of particles from the cell membrane that appropriates cellular protein complexes, referred to as ESCRT-I, -II, -III, normally involved in the biogenesis of multivesicular bodies. Three different classes of late assembly (L) domains encoded in Gag, with core sequences of PPXY, PTAP, and YPXL, recruit different components of the ESCRT machinery to form a budding complex for virus release. Here, we highlight recent progress in identifying the role of different ESCRT complexes in facilitating budding, ubiquitination, and membrane targeting of avian sarcoma and leukosis virus (ASLV) and human immunodeficiency virus, type 1 (HIV-1). These findings show that retroviruses adopt parallel budding pathways by recruiting different host factors from common cellular machinery for particle release.
The Late (L) domain of the avian sarcoma virus (ASV) Gag protein binds Nedd4 ubiquitin ligase E3 family members and is the determinant of efficient virus release in avian and mammalian cells. We previously demonstrated that Nedd4 and Tsg101 constitutively interact raising the possibility that Nedd4 links ASV Gag to the ESCRT machinery. We now demonstrate that covalently linking Tsg101 to ASV Gag lacking the Nedd4 binding site (Δp2b-Tsg101) ablates the requirement for Nedd4, but the rescue of budding occurs by use of a different budding mechanism than that used by wild type ASV Gag. The evidence that Tsg101 and Nedd4 direct release by different pathways is: (i) Release of the virus-like particles (VLPs) assembled from Gag in DF-1, an avian cell line, was resistant to dominant-negative interference by a Tsg101 mutant previously shown to inhibit release of both HIV and Mo-MLV. (ii) Release of VLPs from DF-1 cells was resistant to siRNA-mediated depletion of the endogenous pool of Tsg101 in these cells. (iii) VLPs assembled from wild-type ASV Gag exhibited highly efficient release from endosome-like membrane domains enriched in the tetraspanin protein CD63 or a fluorescent analogue of the phospholipid phosphatidylethanolamine. However, the VLPs assembled from the L domain mutant Δp2b or a chimeric Δp2b-Tsg101 Gag lacked these domain markers even though the chimeric Gag was released efficiently compared to the Δp2b mutant. These results suggest that Tsg101 and Nedd4 facilitate Gag release through functionally exchangeable but independent routes and that Tsg101 can replace Nedd4 function in facilitating budding but not directing through the same membranes.
The functionally exchangeable L domains of HIV-1 and Rous sarcoma virus (RSV) Gag bind Tsg101 and Nedd4, respectively. Tsg101 and Nedd4 function in endocytic trafficking, and studies show that expression of Tsg101 or Nedd4 fragments interfere with release of HIV-1 or RSV Gag, respectively, as virus-like particles (VLPs). To determine whether functional exchangeability reflects use of the same trafficking pathway, we tested the effect on RSV Gag release of co-expression with mutated forms of Vps4, Nedd4 and Tsg101. A dominant-negative mutant of Vps4A, an AAA ATPase required for utilization of endosomal sorting proteins that was shown previously to interfere with HIV-1 budding, also inhibited RSV Gag release, indicating that RSV uses the endocytic trafficking machinery, as does HIV. Nedd4 and Tsg101 interacted in the presence or absence of Gag and, through its binding of Nedd4, RSV Gag interacted with Tsg101. Deletion of the N-terminal region of Tsg101 or the HECT domain of Nedd4 did not prevent interaction; however, three-dimensional spatial imaging suggested that the interaction of RSV Gag with full-length Tsg101 and N-terminally truncated Tsg101 was not the same. Co-expression of RSV Gag with the Tsg101 C-terminal fragment interfered with VLP release minimally; however, a significant fraction of the released VLPs was tethered to each other. The results suggest that, while Tsg101 is not required for RSV VLP release, alterations in the protein interfere with VLP budding/fission events. We conclude that RSV and HIV-1 Gag direct particle release through independent ESCRT-mediated pathways that are linked through Tsg101–Nedd4 interaction.
Gag; HIV-1; L domain; Nedd4; RSV; Tsg101; Vps4
A tetramer model for HIV-1 integrase (IN) with DNA representing 20 bp of the U3 and U5 long terminal repeats (LTR) termini was assembled using structural and biochemical data and molecular dynamics simulations. It predicted amino acid residues on the enzyme surface that can interact with the LTR termini. A separate structural alignment of HIV-1, simian sarcoma virus (SIV), and avian sarcoma virus (ASV) INs predicted which of these residues were unique. To determine whether these residues were responsible for specific recognition of the LTR termini, the amino acids from ASV IN were substituted into the structurally equivalent positions of HIV-1 IN, and the ability of the chimeras to 3′ process U5 HIV-1 or ASV duplex oligos was determined. This analysis demonstrated that there are multiple amino acid contacts with the LTRs and that substitution of ASV IN amino acids at many of the analogous positions in HIV-1 IN conferred partial ability to cleave ASV substrates with a concomitant loss in the ability to cleave the homologous HIV-1 substrate. HIV-1 IN residues that changed specificity include Val72, Ser153, Lys160–Ile161, Gly163–Val165, and His171–Leu172. Because a chimera that combines several of these substitutions showed a specificity of cleavage of the U5 ASV substrate closer to wild type ASV IN compared with chimeras with individual amino acid substitutions, it appears that the sum of the IN interactions with the LTRs determines the specificity. Finally, residues Ser153 and Val72 in HIV-1 IN are among those that change in enzymes that develop resistance to naphthyridine carboxamide- and diketo acid-related inhibitors in cells. Thus, amino acid residues involved in recognition of the LTRs are among these positions that change in development of drug resistance.
Retroviruses have evolved a mechanism for the release of particles from the cell membrane that appropriates cellular protein complexes, referred to as ESCRT-I, -II, -III, normally involved in the biogenesis of multivesicular bodies. Three different classes of late assembly (L) domains encoded in Gag, with core sequences of PPXY, PTAP, and YPXL, recruit different components of the ESCRT machinery to form a budding complex for virus release. Here, we highlight recent progress in identifying the role of different ESCRT complexes in facilitating budding, ubiquitination, and membrane targeting of avian sarcoma and leukosis virus (ASLV) and human immunodeficiency virus, type 1 (HIV-1). These findings show that retroviruses may adopt parallel budding pathways by recruiting different host factors from common cellular machinery for particle release.
A series of amino acid substitutions (M239F, M239G, P240F, V241G) were placed in the p10-CA protease cleavage site (VVAM*PVVI) to change the rate of cleavage of the junction. The effects of these substitutions on p10-CA cleavage by RSV PR were confirmed by measuring the kinetics of cleavage of model peptide substrates containing the wild type and mutant p10-CA sites. The effects of these substitutions on processing of the Gag polyprotein were determined by labeling Gag transfected COS-1 cells with 35S-Met and -Cys, and immunoprecipitation of Gag and its cleavage products from the media and lysate fractions. All substitutions except M239F caused decreases in detectable Gag processing and subsequent release from cells. Several of the mutants also caused defects in production of the three CA proteins. The p10-CA mutations were subcloned into an RSV proviral vector (RCAN) and introduced into a chick embryo fibroblast cell line (DF-1). All of the mutations except M239F blocked RSV replication. In addition, the effects of the M239F and M239G substitutions on the morphology of released virus particles were examined by electron microscopy. While the M239F particles appeared similar to wild type particles, M239G particles contained cores that were large and misshapen. These results suggest that mutations affecting cleavage at the p10-CA protease cleavage site block RSV replication and can have a negative impact on virus particle morphology.
Rous sarcoma virus (RSV) budding requires an interaction of the L domain within the p2b region of Gag with cellular Nedd4-family E3 ubiquitin protein ligases. Members of our laboratories previously demonstrated that overexpression of a fragment of the chicken Nedd4-like protein (LDI-1 WW) inhibits Gag release in a dominant-negative manner (A. Kikonyogo, F. Bouamr, M. L. Vana, Y. Xiang, A. Aiyar, C. Carter, and J. Leis, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 98:11199-11204, 2001). We have now identified the complete 3′ end of LDI-1 and determined that it has a C-terminal ubiquitin ligase HECT domain, similar to other Nedd4 family members. While overexpression of the full-length LDI-1 clone (LDI-1 FL) had little effect on Gag budding, an LDI-1 FL mutant with a substitution in the HECT domain catalytic site blocked Gag release, similar to LDI-1 WW. The coexpression of Gag and hemagglutinin-tagged ubiquitin (HA-Ub) resulted in the detection of mono- and polyubiquitinated forms of Gag in cells and mostly monoubiquitinated Gag in virus-like particles (VLPs). When the Nedd4-binding site (L domain) was deleted, ubiquitinated Gag was not detected. Interestingly, the release of Gag with ubiquitin covalently linked to the C terminus (Gag-Ub) was still blocked by LDI-1 WW. To understand the mechanism of this inhibition, we examined cells expressing Gag and LDI-1 WW by electron microscopy. In the presence of LDI-1 WW, VLPs were found in electron-dense inclusion bodies in the cytoplasm of transfected cells. In contrast, when cells that coexpressed Gag-Ub and LDI-1 WW were examined, inclusion bodies were detected but did not contain VLPs. These results indicate that the ubiquitination of Gag is dependent upon Nedd4 binding to the L domain and suggest that Nedd4 has additional functions during RSV release besides the ubiquitination of Gag.
The 5' end of the Rous sarcoma virus (RSV) RNA around the primer-binding site forms a series of RNA secondary stem/loop structures (U5-IR stem, TψC interaction region, U5-leader stem) that are required for efficient initiation of reverse transcription. The U5-IR stem and loop also encode the U5 integrase (IN) recognition sequence at the level of DNA such that this region has overlapping biological functions in reverse transcription and integration.
We have investigated the ability of RSV to tolerate mutations in and around the U5 IR stem and loop. Through the use of viral libraries with blocks of random sequence, we have screened for functional mutants in vivo, growing the virus libraries in turkey embryo fibroblasts. The library representing the U5-IR stem rapidly selects for clones that maintain the structure of the stem, and is subsequently overtaken by wild type sequence. In contrast, in the library representing the U5-IR loop, wild type sequence is found after five rounds of infection but it does not dominate the virus pool, indicating that the mutant sequences identified are able to replicate at or near wild type levels.
These results indicate that the region of the RNA genome in U5 adjacent to the PBS tolerates much sequence variation even though it is required for multiple biological functions in replication. The in vivo selection method utilized in this study was capable of detecting complex patterns of selection as well as identifying biologically relevant viral mutants.
Reverse transcription in avian sarcoma virus (ASV) initiates from the 3′ end of a tRNATrp primer, which anneals near the 5′ end of the RNA genome. The region around the primer-binding site (PBS) forms an elaborate stem structure composed of the U5-inverted repeat (U5-IR) stem, the U5-leader stem, and the association of the tRNA primer with the PBS. There is evidence for an additional interaction between the viral U5 RNA and the TψC loop of the tRNATrp (U5-TψC). We now demonstrate that this U5-TψC interaction is necessary for efficient replication of ASV in culture. By randomizing specific biologically relevant regions of the viral RNA, thereby producing a library of mutant viruses, we are able to select, through multiple rounds of infection, those sequences imparting survival fitness to the virus. Randomizing the U5-TψC interaction region of the viral RNA results in selection of largely wild-type sequences after five rounds of infection. Also recovered are mutant viruses that maintain their ability to base pair with the TψC loop of the tRNATrp. To prove this interaction is specific to the tRNA primer, we constructed a second library, in which we altered the PBS to anneal to tRNAPro, while simultaneously randomizing the viral RNA U5-TψC region. After five rounds of infection, the consensus sequence 5′-GPuPuCPy-3′ emerged, which is complementary to the 5′-GGTTC-3′ sequence found in the TψC loop of tRNAPro. These observations confirm the importance of the U5-TψC interaction in vivo.
The formation of the mature carboxyl terminus of CA in avian sarcoma/leukemia virus is the result of a sequence of cleavage events at three PR sites that lie between CA and NC in the Gag polyprotein. The initial cleavage forms the amino terminus of the NC protein and releases an immature CA, named CA1, with a spacer peptide at its carboxyl terminus. Cleavage of either 9 or 12 amino acids from the carboxyl terminus creates two mature CA species, named CA2 and CA3, that can be detected in avian sarcoma/leukemia virus (R. B. Pepinsky, I. A. Papayannopoulos, E. P. Chow, N. K. Krishna, R. C. Craven, and V. M. Vogt, J. Virol. 69:6430–6438, 1995). To study the importance of each of the three CA proteins, we introduced amino acid substitutions into each CA cleavage junction and studied their effects on CA processing as well as virus assembly and infectivity. Preventing cleavage at any of the three sites produced noninfectious virus. In contrast, a mutant in which cleavage at site 1 was enhanced so that particles contained CA2 and CA3 but little detectable CA1 was infectious. These results support the idea that infectivity of the virus is closely linked to proper processing of the carboxyl terminus to form two mature CA proteins.
We have described a reconstituted avian sarcoma virus (ASV) concerted DNA integration system with specially designed mini-donor DNA containing a supF transcription unit, a supercoiled plasmid acceptor, purified bacterially expressed ASV integrase (IN), and human high-mobility-group protein I(Y). Integration in this system is dependent upon the mini-donor DNA having IN recognition sequences at both ends and upon both ends of the same donor integrating into the acceptor DNA. The integrated DNA product exhibits all of the features associated with integration of viral DNA in vivo (P. Hindmarsh et al., J. Virol., 73:2994–3003, 1999). Individual integrants are isolated from bacteria containing drug-resistant markers with amber mutations. This system was used to evaluate the importance of sequences in the terminal U5 and U3 long terminal repeats at positions 5 and/or 6, adjacent to the conserved CA dinucleotide. Base-pair substitutions introduced at these positions in U5 result in significant reductions in recovered integrants from bacteria, due to increases in one-ended insertion events. Among the recovered integrants from reactions with mutated U5 but not U3 IN recognition sequences were products that contain large deletions in the acceptor DNA. Base-pair substitutions at positions 5 and 6 in U3 mostly reduce the efficiency of integration of the modified donor. Together, these results indicate that sequences directly 5′ to the conserved CA dinucleotide are very important for the process of concerted DNA integration. Furthermore, IN interacts with U3 and U5 termini differently, and aberrant end-processing events leading to nonconcerted DNA integration are more common in U5 than in U3.
DNA integration is a unique enzymatic process shared by all retroviruses and retrotransposons. During integration, double-stranded linear viral DNA is inserted into the host genome in a process catalyzed by the virus-encoded integrase (IN). The mechanism involves a series of nucleophillic attacks, the first of which removes the terminal 2 bases from the 3′ ends of the long terminal repeats and of the second which inserts the viral DNA into the host genome. IN specifically recognizes the DNA sequences at the termini of the viral DNA, juxtaposing both ends in an enzyme complex that inserts the viral DNA into a single site in a concerted manner. Small duplications of the host DNA, characteristic of the viral IN, are found at the sites of insertion. At least two host proteins, HMG-I(Y) and BAF, have been shown to increase the efficiency of the integration reaction.
Predicted secondary-structure elements encompassing the primer binding site in the 5′ untranslated region of Rous sarcoma virus (RSV) RNA play an integral role in multiple viral replications steps including reverse transcription, DNA integration, and RNA packaging (A. Aiyar, D. Cobrinik, Z. Ge, H. J. Kung, and J. Leis, J. Virol. 66:2464–2472, 1992; D. Cobrinik, A. Aiyar, Z. Ge, M. Katzman, H. Huang, and J. Leis, J. Virol. 65:3864–3872, 1991; J. T. Miller, Z. Ge, S. Morris, K. Das, and J. Leis, J. Virol. 71:7648–7656, 1997). These elements include the U5-Leader stem, U5-IR stem-loop, and U5-TΨC interaction region. Limited digestion of the 5′ untranslated region of wild-type and mutant RSV RNAs with structure- and/or sequence-specific RNases detects the presence of the U5-Leader stem and the U5-IR stem-loop. When a tRNATrp primer is annealed to wild-type RNAs in vitro, limited nuclease mapping indicates that the U5-IR stem becomes partially unwound. This is not observed when mutant RNAs with altered U5-IR stem-loop structures are substituted for wild-type RNAs. The U5-Leader stem also becomes destabilized when the tRNA primer is annealed to either wild-type or mutant RNA fragments. Nuclease mapping studies of tRNATrp, as well as the viral RNA, indicate that the U5-TΨC helix does form in vitro upon primer annealing. Collectively, these data suggest that the various structural elements near the RSV primer binding site undergo significant changes during the process of primer annealing.
We have reconstituted concerted human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) integration in vitro with specially designed mini-donor HIV-1 DNA, a supercoiled plasmid acceptor, purified bacterium-derived HIV-1 integrase (IN), and host HMG protein family members. This system is comparable to one previously described for avian sarcoma virus (ASV) (A. Aiyar et al., J. Virol. 70:3571–3580, 1996) that was stimulated by the presence of HMG-1. Sequence analyses of individual HIV-1 integrants showed loss of 2 bp from the ends of the donor DNA and almost exclusive 5-bp duplications of the acceptor DNA at the site of integration. All of the integrants sequenced were inserted into different sites in the acceptor. These are the features associated with integration of viral DNA in vivo. We have used the ASV and HIV-1 reconstituted systems to compare the mechanism of concerted DNA integration and examine the role of different HMG proteins in the reaction. Of the three HMG proteins examined, HMG-1, HMG-2, and HMG-I(Y), the products formed in the presence of HMG-I(Y) for both systems most closely match those observed in vivo. Further analysis of HMG-I(Y) mutants demonstrates that the stimulation of integration requires an HMG-I(Y) domain involved in DNA binding. While complexes containing HMG-I(Y), ASV IN, and donor DNA can be detected in gel shift experiments, coprecipitation experiments failed to demonstrate stable interactions between HMG-I(Y) and ASV IN or between HMG-I(Y) and HIV-1 IN.
About one-third of the MA protein in Rous sarcoma virus (RSV) is phosphorylated. Previous analyses of this fraction have suggested that serine residues 68 and 106 are the major sites of phosphorylation. As a follow-up to that study, we have characterized mutants which have these putative phosphorylation sites changed to alanine, either separately or together. None of the substitutions (S68A, S106A, or S68/106A) had an effect on the budding efficiency or infectivity of the virus. Upon examination of the 32P-labeled viral proteins, we found that the S68A substitution did not affect phosphorylation in vivo at all. In contrast, the S106A substitution prevented all detectable phosphorylation of MA, suggesting that there is only one major site of phosphorylation in MA. We also found that the RSV MA protein is phosphorylated on tyrosine, but the amount was low and detectable only with large numbers of virions and an antibody specific for phosphotyrosine.
The role of ribonucleic acid (RNA) in deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) synthesis with the purified DNA polymerase from the avian myeloblastosis virus has been studied. The polymerase catalyzes the synthesis of DNA in the presence of four deoxynucleoside triphosphates, Mg2+, and a variety of RNA templates including those isolated from avian myeloblastosis, Rous sarcoma, and Rauscher leukemia viruses; phages f2, MS2, and Qβ; and synthetic homopolymers such as polyadenylate·polyuridylic acid. The enzyme does not initiate the synthesis of new chains but incorporates deoxynucleotides at 3′ hydroxyl ends of primer strands. The product is an RNA·DNA hybrid in which the two polynucleotide components are covalently linked. Free DNA has not been detected among the products formed with the purified enzyme in vitro. The DNA synthesized with avian myeloblastosis virus RNA after alkaline hydrolysis has a sedimentation coefficient of 6 to 7S.
The template requirements and deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) products of the DNA polymerases isolated from Rauscher leukemia and avian myeloblastosis viruses have been examined. All DNA preparations or synthetic polydeoxynucleotides which are active as primers possess a duplex structure containing single-stranded regions with a 3′-hydroxyl terminus. Native DNA and fully single-stranded DNA are inactive; moreover, their activity is not enhanced by sonic oscillation or treatment with micrococcal nuclease, Neurospora nuclease, or low levels of deoxyribonuclease I. Poor DNA templates are activated by treatment with exonuclease III, large amounts of deoxyribonuclease I, or an endonuclease isolated from Rauscher viral preparations. In reactions primed with deoxyadenylate-deoxythymidylate copolymer, the product formed is covalently attached to primer strands, indicating that no new strands are initiated. DNA polymerase products formed with exonuclease III- or deoxyribonuclase I-treated DNA are duplex structures. Short single-stranded regions are completely filled in, whereas long single-stranded regions are only partly repaired. DNA preparations containing extensive single-stranded regions are poorly utilized as templates.