HIV-1 nucleocapsid proteins as molecular chaperones for tetramolecular antiparallel G-quadruplex formation

J Am Chem Soc. 2013 Dec 11;135(49):18575-85. doi: 10.1021/ja409085j. Epub 2013 Nov 27.


HIV-1 nucleocapsid proteins (NCps) facilitate remodeling of nucleic acids to fold thermodynamically stable conformations, and thus called nucleic acid chaperones. To date only little is known on the stoichiometry, NCp-NCp interactions, chaperone activity on G-quadruplex formation, and so on. We report here the direct and real-time analysis on such properties of proteolytic intermediate NCp15 and mature NCp7 using DNA origami. The protein particles were found to predominantly exist in monomeric form, while dimeric and multimeric forms were also observed both in free solution and bound to the quadruplex structure. The formation and the dissociation events of the G-quadruplexes were well documented in real-time and the intermediate-like states were also visualized. We anticipate that this pioneering study will strengthen our understanding on the chaperone activity of HIV-1 proteins which in turn will be helpful for the drug design based on G-quadruplex and also for the development of drugs against AIDS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • G-Quadruplexes*
  • HIV-1 / chemistry*
  • Microscopy, Atomic Force
  • Molecular Chaperones / chemistry*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nucleocapsid Proteins / chemistry*


  • Molecular Chaperones
  • Nucleocapsid Proteins