Retroviral nucleocapsid proteins and DNA strand transfers

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An infectious retroviral particle contains 1000–1500 molecules of the nucleocapsid protein (NC) that cover the diploid RNA genome. NC is a small zinc finger protein that possesses nucleic acid chaperone activity that enables NC to rearrange DNA and RNA molecules into the most thermodynamically stable structures usually those containing the maximum number of base pairs. Thanks to the chaperone activity, NC plays an essential role in reverse transcription of the retroviral genome by facilitating the strand transfer reactions of this process. In addition, these reactions are involved in recombination events that can generate multiple drug resistance mutations in the presence of anti-HIV-1 drugs. The strand transfer reactions rely on base pairing of folded DNA/RNA structures. The molecular mechanisms responsible for NC-mediated strand transfer reactions are presented and discussed in this review. Antiretroviral strategies targeting the NC-mediated strand transfer events are also discussed.




René, B., Mauffret, O., & Fossé, P. (2018, December 1). Retroviral nucleocapsid proteins and DNA strand transfers. Biochimie Open. Elsevier B.V.

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