Author(s): Negroni M, Buc H
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Abstract Copy-choice recombination efficiently reshuffles genetic markers in retroviruses. In vivo, the folding of the genomic RNA is controlled by the nucleocapsid protein (NC). We show that binding of NC onto the acceptor RNA molecule is sufficient to enhance recombination, providing evidence for a mechanism where the structure of the acceptor template determines the template switch. NC as well as another RNA chaperone (StpA) converts recombination into a widespread process no longer restricted to rare hot spots, an effect maximized when both the NC and the reverse transcriptase come from HIV-1. These data suggest that RNA chaperones confer a higher genetic flexibility to retroviruses.
This article was published in Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A
and referenced in HIV: Current Research