Template-independent DNA synthesis activity associated with the reverse transcriptase of the long terminal repeat retrotransposon Tf1

Iris Oz-Gleenberg, Eytan Herzig, Amnon Hizi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Reverse transcriptases (RTs) possess a non-templated addition (NTA) activity while synthesizing DNA with blunt-ended DNA primer/templates. Interestingly, the RT of the long terminal repeat retrotransposon Tf1 has an NTA activity that is substantially higher than that of HIV-1 or murine leukemia virus RTs. By performing steady state kinetics, we found that the differences between the NTA activities of Tf1 and HIV-1 RTs can be explained by the substantially lower K M value for the incoming dNTP of Tf1 RT (while the differences between the apparent k cat values of these two RTs are relatively small). Furthermore, the K M values, calculated for both RTs with the same dNTP, are much lower for the template-dependent synthesis (TDS) than those of NTA. However, TDS of HIV-1 RT is higher than that of Tf1 RT. The overall relative order of the apparent k cat/K M values for dATP is: HIV-1 RT (TDS) > Tf1 RT (TDS) >> Tf1 RT (NTA) > HIV-1 RT (NTA). Under the employed conditions, Tf1 RT can add up to seven nucleotides to the blunt-ended substrate, while the other RTs add mostly a single nucleotide. The NTA activity of Tf1 RT is restricted to DNA primers. Furthermore, the NTA activity of Tf1 and HIV-1 RTs is suppressed by ATP, as it competes with the incoming dATP (although ATP is not incorporated by the NTA activity of the RTs). The unusually high NTA activity of Tf1 RT can explain why, after completing cDNA synthesis, the in vivo generated Tf1 cDNA has relatively long extra sequences beyond the highly conserved CA at its 3′-ends.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-153
Number of pages12
JournalFEBS Journal
Volume279
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2012

Keywords

  • HIV
  • Tf1 retrotransposon
  • non-templated addition
  • retroviruses
  • reverse transcriptases

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