Retroviral integration involves two DNA substrates that play different roles. The viral DNA substrate is recognized by virtue of specific nucleotide sequences near the end of a double-stranded DNA molecule. The target DNA substrate is recognized at internal sites with little sequence preference; nucleosomal DNA appears to be preferred for this role. Despite this apparent asymmetry in the sequence, structure, and roles of the DNA substrates in the integration reaction, the existence of distinct binding sites for viral and target DNA substrates has been controversial. In this report, we describe the expression in Escherichia coli and purification of Moloney murine leukemia virus integrase as a fusion protein with glutathione S-transferase, characterization of its activity by using several model DNA substrates, and the initial kinetic characterization of its interactions with a model viral DNA substrate. We provide evidence for functionally and kinetically distinct binding sites for viral and target DNA substrates and describe a cross- linking assay for DNA binding at a site whose specificity is consistent with the target DNA binding site.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science