A -1 frameshift in the HIV-1 env gene is enhanced by arginine deficiency via a hungry codon mechanism

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Ethan W Taylor, Senior Research Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/

Abstract: Ribosomal frameshifting is used by various organisms to maximize protein coding potential of genomic sequences. It is commonly exploited by RNA viruses to overcome the constraint of their limited genome size. Frameshifting requires specific RNA structural features, such as a suitable heptanucleotide “slippery” sequence and an RNA pseudoknot. Previous genomic analysis of HIV-1 indicated the potential for several hidden genes encoded through frameshifting; one of these, overlapping the envelope gene, has an RNA pseudoknot just downstream from a slippery sequence, AAAAAGA that features an adenine quadruplet prior to a potential hungry arginine codon (AGA). This env-frameshift (env-fs) gene has been shown to encode a truncated glutathione peroxidase homologue, with both antioxidant and anti-apoptotic activities in transfected cells. Using a dual reporter cell-based frameshift assay, we demonstrate that the env-fs frameshift sequence is active in vitro. Furthermore, in arginine deficient media, env-fs frameshifting increased over 100% (p < 0.005), consistent with the hypothesized hungry codon mechanism. As a response to arginine deficiency, increased expression of the antioxidant viral GPx gene (env-fs) by upregulation of frameshifting could be protective to HIV-infected cells, as a countermeasure to the increased oxidative stress induced by arginine deficiency (because NO is a known scavenger of hydroxyl radical).

Additional Information

Mutation Research/Fundamental and Molecular Mechanisms of Mutagenesis. Volume 579, Issues 1–2, 11 November 2005, Pages 125-132. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mrfmmm.2005.02.018
Language: English
Date: 2005
-1 Frameshift, env-Frameshift, HIV-1, Hungry codon, Arginine deficiency

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