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Determinants of the interaction between the 5'-leader of HIV-1 genome and human lysyl-tRNA synthetase in reverse transcription primer release process.

Reverse transcription of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) initiates from the 3' end of human tRNALys3 . The primer tRNALys3 is selectively packaged into the virus in the form of a complex with human lysyl-tRNA synthetase (LysRS). To facilitate reverse transcription initiation, part of the 5' leader (5'L) of HIV-1 genomic RNA (gRNA) evolves a tRNA anticodon-like element (TLE), which binds LysRS and releases tRNALys3 for primer annealing and reverse transcription initiation. Although TLE has been identified as a key element in 5'L responsible for LysRS binding, how the conformations and various hairpin structures of 5'L regulate 5'L-LysRS interaction is not fully understood. Here, these factors have been individually investigated using direct and competitive fluorescence anisotropy binding experiments. Our data showed that the conformation of 5'L significantly influences its binding affinity with LysRS. The 5'L conformation favoring gRNA dimerization and packaging exhibits much weaker binding affinity with LysRS compared to the alternative 5'L conformation that is not selected for packaging. Additionally, dimerization of 5'L impairs LysRS-5'L interaction. Furthermore, among various regions of 5'L, both the primer binding site/TLE domain and the stem-loop 3 are important for LysRS interaction, whereas the dimerization initiation site and the splicing donor plays a minor role. In contrast, the presence of the transacting responsive and the polyadenylation signal hairpins slightly inhibit LysRS binding. These findings reveal that the conformation and various regions of the 5'L of HIV-1 genome regulate its interaction with human LysRS and the reverse transcription primer release process.

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