Identification of residues of the moloney murine leukemia virus nucleocapsid critical for viral DNA synthesis in vivo

J. Gonsky, E. Bacharach, S. P. Goff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The nucleocapsid (NC) protein of retroviruses is a small nucleic acid-binding protein important in virion assembly and in the encapsidation of the viral RNA genome into the virion particle. Multiple single-amino-acid substitutions were introduced into the NC of Moloney murine leukemia virus to examine further its role in viral replication. Two residues were shown to play important roles in the early events of replication. Unlike viruses with previously characterized NC mutations, these viruses showed no impairment in the late events of replication. Viruses containing the substitutions L21A and K30A expressed the normal complement of properly processed viral Gag proteins. Analysis of the RNA content of mutant virions revealed normal levels of unspliced and spliced viral RNA, and the tRNAPro primer was properly annealed to the primer binding site on the viral genome. The virions demonstrated no defect in initiation of reverse transcription using the endogenous tRNA primer or in the synthesis of long viral DNA products in vitro. Nonetheless, viruses possessing these NC mutations demonstrated significant defects in the synthesis and accumulation of viral DNA products in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2616-2626
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Virology
Volume75
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

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