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Judith Levin and colleagues in the Section on Viral Gene Regulation study the molecular aspects of HIV-1 replication. A major focus is the critical role of the viral nucleocapsid protein (NC), a nucleic acid chaperone that remodels nucleic acid structures and is required for almost all steps in reverse transcription. The Section demonstrated that the Gag precursor (through its NC domain) also has chaperone activity, although at high concentrations, Gag severely inhibits DNA elongation. Based on this finding, the group proposed a novel roadblock mechanism for regulating reverse transcription. Ongoing functional analysis of HIV-1 capsid protein has revealed the importance of the interdomain linker region for proper core assembly and stability. Additionally, the group is investigating the molecular properties and three-dimensional structure of human APOBEC3A, a restriction factor that blocks LINE-1 retrotransposition.