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Base pairing among three cis-acting sequences contributes to template switching during hepadnavirus reverse transcription.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Publication Date
Volume
100
Issue
4
Pages
1984–1989
Identifiers
PMID: 12578983
Source
Medline

Abstract

Synthesis of the relaxed-circular (RC) DNA genome of hepadnaviruses requires two template switches during plus-strand DNA synthesis: primer translocation and circularization. Although primer translocation and circularization use different donor and acceptor sequences, and are distinct temporally, they share the common theme of switching from one end of the minus-strand template to the other end. Studies of duck hepatitis B virus have indicated that, in addition to the donor and acceptor sequences, three other cis-acting sequences, named 3E, M, and 5E, are required for the synthesis of RC DNA by contributing to primer translocation and circularization. The mechanism by which 3E, M, and 5E act was not known. We present evidence that these sequences function by base pairing with each other within the minus-strand template. 3E base-pairs with one portion of M (M3) and 5E base-pairs with an adjacent portion of M (M5). We found that disrupting base pairing between 3E and M3 and between 5E and M5 inhibited primer translocation and circularization. More importantly, restoring base pairing with mutant sequences restored the production of RC DNA. These results are consistent with the model that, within duck hepatitis B virus capsids, the ends of the minus-strand template are juxtaposed via base pairing to facilitate the two template switches during plus-strand DNA synthesis.

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