Presteady-state analysis of avian sarcoma virus integrase - II. Reverse-polarity substrates identify preferential processing of the U3-U5 pair
The integrase-catalyzed insertion of the retroviral genome into the host chromosome involves two reactions in vivo: 1) the binding and endonucleolytic removal of the terminal dinucleotides of the viral DNA termini and 2) the recombination of the ends with the host DNA. Kukolj and Skalka (Kukolj, G., and Skalka, A. M. (1995) Genes Dev. 9, 2556-2567) have previously shown that tethering of the termini enhances the endonucleolytic activities of integrase. We have used 5'-5' phosphoramidites to design reverse-polarity tethers that allowed us to examine the reactivity of two viral long terminal repeat-derived sequences when concurrently bound to integrase and, additionally, developed presteady-state assays to analyze the initial exponential phase of the reaction, which is a measure of the amount of productive nucleoprotein complexes formed during preincubation of integrase and DNA. Furthermore, the reverse-polarity tether circumvents the integrase-catalyzed splicing reaction (Bao, K., Skalka, A. M., and Wong, I. (2002) J. Biol. Chem. 277, 12089-12098) that obscures accurate analysis of the reactivities of synapsed DNA substrates. Consequently, we were able to establish a lower limit of 0.2 s(-1) for the rate constant of the processing reaction. The analysis showed the physiologically relevant U3/U5 pair of viral ends to be the preferred substrate for integrase with the U3/U3 combination favored over the U5/U5 pair.