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L1 retrotransposons have a prominent role in reshaping mammalian genomes. To replicate, the L1 ribonucleoprotein particle (RNP) first uses its endonuclease (EN) to nick the genomic DNA. The newly generated DNA end is subsequently used as a primer to initiate reverse transcription within the L1 RNA poly(A) tail, a process known as target-primed reverse(More)
The Split Ends (SPEN) protein was originally discovered in Drosophila in the late 1990s. Since then, homologous proteins have been identified in eukaryotic species ranging from plants to humans. Every family member contains three predicted RNA recognition motifs (RRMs) in the N-terminal region of the protein. We have determined the crystal structure of the(More)
RNA chaperone proteins are essential partners of RNA in living organisms and viruses. They are thought to assist in the correct folding and structural rearrangements of RNA molecules by resolving misfolded RNA species in an ATP-independent manner. RNA chaperoning is probably an entropy-driven process, mediated by the coupled binding and folding of(More)
The hepatitis C virus (HCV) is an important human pathogen causing chronic hepatitis, liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. HCV is an enveloped virus with a positive-sense, single-stranded RNA genome encoding a single polyprotein that is processed to generate viral proteins. Several hundred molecules of the structural Core protein are thought to(More)
The human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is a primate lentivirus that causes the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). In addition to the virion structural proteins and enzyme precursors, that are Gag, Env and Pol, HIV-1 encodes several regulatory proteins, notably a small nuclear transcriptional activator named Tat. The Tat protein is(More)
The core protein of hepatitis C virus (HCV) has been shown previously to act as a potent nucleic acid chaperone in vitro, promoting the dimerization of the 3'-untranslated region (3'-UTR) of the HCV genomic RNA, a process probably mediated by a small, highly conserved palindromic RNA motif, named DLS (dimer linkage sequence) [G. Cristofari, R. Ivanyi-Nagy,(More)
The genetic material of all retroviruses examined so far is an RNA dimer where two identical RNA subunits are joined at their 5' ends by a structure named dimer linkage structure (DLS). Since the precise location and structure of the DLS as well as the mechanism and role(s) of RNA dimerization remain unclear, we analysed the dimerization process of Rous(More)
Mobile LTR-retroelements comprising retroviruses and LTR-retrotransposons form a large part of eukaryotic genomes. Their mode of replication and abundance favour the notion that they are major actors in eukaryote evolution. The Gypsy retroelement can spread in the germ line of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster via both env-independent and env-dependent(More)
Upon HIV-1 infection of a target cell, the viral reverse transcriptase (RT) copies the genomic RNA to synthesize the viral DNA. The genomic RNA is within the incoming HIV-1 core where it is coated by molecules of nucleocapsid (NC) protein that chaperones the reverse transcription process. Indeed, the RT chaperoning properties of NC extend from the(More)
Prion diseases are unique neurodegenerative illnesses associated with the conversion of the cellular prion protein (PrP(C)) into the aggregated misfolded scrapie isoform, named PrP(Sc). Recent studies on the physiological role of PrP(C) revealed that this protein has probably multiple functions, notably in cell-cell adhesion and signal transduction, and in(More)