Site-specific mutagenesis of AIDS virus reverse transcriptase

Nature. 1987;327(6124):716-7. doi: 10.1038/327716a0.


Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is the causative agent of AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) a disease which poses a serious challenge to modern medicine. If we are to conquer this disease we will need a protective vaccine or effective drugs able to block the life cycle of the virus. An early stage in the invasion of the host cell is the conversion of the RNA genome of the virus to a double-stranded DNA intermediate which subsequently becomes integrated into the host cell chromosome. The enzyme reverse transcriptase is crucial in this process and is thus an obvious chemotherapeutic target. In this study we have used site-directed mutagenesis of this enzyme expressed in Escherichia coli to reveal several important functional regions of the protein including putative components of the triphosphate binding site and pyrophosphate exchange sites.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • DNA, Viral / genetics*
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Foscarnet
  • HIV / enzymology*
  • Mutation*
  • Phosphonoacetic Acid / analogs & derivatives
  • Phosphonoacetic Acid / pharmacology
  • RNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / genetics*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Thymidine / analogs & derivatives
  • Thymidine / pharmacology
  • Zidovudine


  • DNA, Viral
  • Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors
  • Foscarnet
  • Zidovudine
  • RNA-Directed DNA Polymerase
  • Phosphonoacetic Acid
  • Thymidine