Human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 uses a specific tRNAPro isodecoder to prime reverse transcription

by | Apr 30, 2024 | Publications

RNA. 2024 Apr 29:rna.080006.124. doi: 10.1261/rna.080006.124. Online ahead of print.

ABSTRACT

Human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is the only oncogenic human retrovirus discovered to date. All retroviruses are believed to use a host cell tRNA to prime reverse transcription (RT). In HTLV-1, the primer binding site (PBS) in the genomic RNA is complementary to the 3′-18 nucleotides (nt) of human tRNAPro The human genome encodes 20 cytoplasmic tRNAPro genes representing seven isodecoders, all of which share the same 3′ 18-nt sequence but vary elsewhere. Whether all tRNAPro isodecoders are used to prime RT in cells is unknown. A previous study showed that a 3′ 18-nt tRNAPro-derived fragment (tRFPro) is packaged into HTLV-1 particles and can serve as an RT primer in vitro. The role of this tRNA fragment in the viral lifecycle is unclear. In retroviruses, N1-methylation of the tRNA primer at position A58 (m1A) is essential for successful plus-strand transfer. Using primer-extension assays performed in chronically HTLV-1-infected cells, we found that A58 of tRNAPro is m1A-modified, implying that full-length tRNAPro is capable of facilitating successful plus-strand transfer. Analysis of HTLV-1 RT primer extension products indicated that full-length tRNAPro is likely to be the primer. To determine which tRNAPro isodecoder is used as the RT primer, we sequenced the minus-strand strong-stop RT product containing the intact tRNA primer and established that HTLV-1 primes RT using a specific tRNAPro UGG isodecoder. Further studies are required to understand how this primer is annealed to the highly structured HTLV-1 PBS and to investigate the role of tRFPro in the viral lifecycle.

PMID:38684316 | DOI:10.1261/rna.080006.124

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