We previously described the construction and analysis of the first set of functional chimeric lentivirus integrases, involving exchange of the N- terminal, central, and C-terminal regions of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and visna virus integrase (IN) proteins. Based on those results, additional HIV-1/visna virus chimeric integrases were designed and purified. Each of the chimeric enzymes was functional in at least one oligonucleotide-based IN assay. Of a total of 12 chimeric IN proteins, 3 exhibit specific viral DNA processing, 9 catalyze insertion of viral DNA ends, 12 can reverse that reaction, and 11 are active for nonspecific alcoholysis. Functional data obtained with the processing assay indicate that the central region of the protein is responsible for viral DNA specificity. Target site selection for nonspecific alcoholysis again mapped to the central domain of IN, confirming our previous data indicating that this region can position nonviral DNA for nucleophilic attack. However, the chimeric proteins created patterns of viral DNA insertion distinct from that of either wild- type IN, suggesting that interactions between regions of IN influence target site selection for viral DNA integration. The results support a new model for the functional organization of IN in which viral DNA initially binds nonspecifically to the C-terminal portion of IN but the catalytic central region of the enzyme has a prominent role both in specific recognition of viral DNA ends and in positioning the host DNA for viral DNA integration.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Insect Science