The hepadnavirus reverse transcriptase (RT) has the unique ability to initiate viral DNA synthesis using RT itself as a protein primer. Protein priming requires complex interactions between the N-terminal TP (terminal protein) domain, where the primer (a specific Y residue) resides, and the central RT domain, which harbors the polymerase active site. While it normally utilizes the cis-linked TP to prime DNA synthesis (cis-priming), we found that the duck hepatitis B virus (DHBV) RT domain, in the context of the full-length RT protein or a mini-RT construct containing only truncated TP and RT domains, could additionally use a separate TP or RT domain in trans as a primer (trans-priming). trans interaction could also be demonstrated by the inhibitory effect (trans-inhibition) on cis-priming by TP and RT domain sequences provided in trans. Protein priming was further shown to induce RT conformational changes that resulted in TP-RT domain dissociation, altered priming site selection, and a gain of sensitivity to a pyrophosphate analog inhibitor. trans-priming, trans-inhibition, and trans-complementation, which requires separate TP and RT domains to reconstitute a functional RT protein, were employed to define the sequences in the TP and RT domains that could mediate physical or functional inter- and intradomain interactions. These results provide new insights into TP-RT domain interactions and conformational dynamics during protein priming and suggest novel means to inhibit protein priming by targeting these interactions and the associated conformational transitions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Insect Science