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Novel mutations in Moloney Murine Leukemia Virus reverse transcriptase increase thermostability through tighter binding to template-primer

Oxford University Press
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkn952
  • Nucleic Acid Enzymes


In an effort to increase the thermostability of Moloney Murine Leukemia Virus reverse transcriptase (MMLV RT), we screened random and site-saturation libraries for variants that show increased resistance to thermal inactivation. We discovered five mutations E69K, E302R, W313F, L435G and N454K that collectively increase the half-life of MMLV RT at 55°C from less than 5 min to ∼30 min in the presence of template-primer. In addition, these mutations alter the thermal profile by increasing specific activity of the pentuple mutant (M5) over a broad range of cDNA synthesis temperatures (25–70°C). We further show that M5 generates higher cDNA yields and exhibits better RT–PCR performance compared to wild-type RT when used at high temperature to amplify RNA targets containing secondary structure. Finally, we demonstrate that M5 exhibits tighter binding (lower Km) to template-primer, which likely protects against heat inactivation.

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