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A chimeric Ty3/Moloney murine leukemia virus integrase protein is active in vivo.


This report describes the results of experiments to determine whether chimeras between a retrovirus and portions of Ty3 are active in vivo. A chimera between Ty3 and a Neo(r)-marked Moloney murine leukemia virus (M-MuLV) was constructed. The C-terminal domain of M-MuLV integrase (IN) was replaced with the C-terminal domain of Ty3 IN. The chimeric retroviruses were expressed from an amphotrophic envelope packaging cell line. The virus generated was used to infect the human fibrosarcoma cell line HT1080, and cells in which integration had occurred were selected by G418 resistance. Three independently integrated viruses were rescued. In each case, the C-terminal Ty3 IN sequences were maintained and short direct repeats of the genomic DNA flanked the integration site. Sequence analysis of the genomic DNA flanking the insertion did not identify a tRNA gene; therefore, these integration events did not have Ty3 position specificity. This study showed that IN sequences from the yeast retrovirus-like element Ty3 can substitute for M-MuLV IN sequences in the C-terminal domain and contribute to IN function in vivo. It is also one of the first in vivo demonstrations of activity of a retrovirus encoding an integrase chimera. Studies of chimeras between IN species with distinctive integration patterns should complement previous work by expanding our understanding of the roles of nonconserved domains.

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