We found a heterozygous C2857T mutation (R953C) in polymerase gamma (Pol-γ) in an HIV-infected patient with mitochondrial toxicity. The R953C Pol-γ mutant binding affinity for dCTP is 8-fold less than that of the wild type. The R953C mutant shows a 4-fold decrease in discrimination of analog nucleotides relative to the wild type. R953 is located on the "O-helix" that forms the substrate deoxynucleoside triphosphate (dNTP) binding site; the interactions of R953 with E1056 and Y986 may stabilize the O-helix and affect polymerase activity.
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