A fragment of the SIVmac251 pol gene was expressed in Escherichia coli as a trpE fusion protein. Analysis of extracts from bacteria containing this expression plasmid revealed the presence of a reverse transcriptase activity dependent on Mgt2+ as divalent cation and active on both poly(rA) · oligo(dT) and poly(rC · oligo(dG) templates. In comparative studies, the SIV and HIV-1 reverse transcriptases expressed in bacteria displayed very similar high sensitivities to the chain terminator inhibitors AZTTP and ddTTP. The reverse transcriptase of Moloney murine leukemia virus and the DNA polymerase of E. coli were both more resistant to ddTTP, and the E. coli enzyme was significantly more resistant to AZTTP.
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