Host cell tRNAs are recruited for use as primers to initiate reverse transcription in retroviruses. Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) uses tRNALys3 as the replication primer, whereas Rous sarcoma virus (RSV) uses tRNATrp. The nucleic acid (NA) chaperone function of the nucleocapsid (NC) domain of HIV-1 Gag is responsible for annealing tRNALys3 to the genomic RNA (gRNA) primer binding site (PBS). Compared to HIV-1, little is known about the chaperone activity of RSV Gag. In this work, using purified RSV Gag containing an N-terminal His tag and a deletion of the majority of the protease domain (H6.Gag.3h), gel shift assays were used to monitor the annealing of tRNATrp to a PBS-containing RSV RNA. Here, we show that similar to HIV-1 Gag lacking the p6 domain (GagΔp6), RSV H6.Gag.3h is a more efficient chaperone on a molar basis than NC; however, in contrast to the HIV-1 system, both RSV H6.Gag.3h and NC have comparable annealing rates at protein saturation. The NC domain of RSV H6.Gag.3h is required for annealing, whereas deletion of the matrix (MA) domain, which stimulates the rate of HIV-1 GagΔp6 annealing, has little effect on RSV H6.Gag.3h chaperone function. Competition assays confirmed that RSV MA binds inositol phosphates (IPs), but in contrast to HIV-1 GagΔp6, IPs do not stimulate RSV H6.Gag.3h chaperone activity unless the MA domain is replaced with HIV-1 MA. We conclude that differences in the MA domains are primarily responsible for mechanistic differences in RSV and HIV-1 Gag NA chaperone function.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Insect Science