Sequences within the R components of the long terminal repeats (LTRs) of several retroviruses are known to be involved at various steps in expression of the viral genomes. A series of experiments was performed to test whether sequences within the R regions of the murine leukemia viruses Akv and SL3-3 affect viral expression. By using plasmid clones of the viral LTRs linked to a reporter gene, deletion of the R region was found to decrease expression to variable extents in a series of mammalian cell lines, with the largest effects being detected in murine fibroblasts. R-region sequences from the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 LTR or a random sequence were unable to substitute for the murine leukemia virus sequences. Transcripts from the R-region-deleted templates were initiated at the proper site in the LTR, but their levels were decreased at least 10-fold. Nuclear run-on assays showed that the decrease caused by the R-region deletions was due, in part, to an effect on RNA polymerase loading, suggesting an effect on transcriptional initiation. The remainder of the activity was presumably due to a posttranscriptional effect. Analysis of the R-region sequences of murine leukemia viruses and related retroviruses led to the prediction of a conserved secondary structure in the transcribed RNA that might have a role in activity. We conclude that R-region sequences are of importance for the expression of a variety of retroviruses.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science