The self primer of the long terminal repeat retrotransposon Tf1 is not removed during reverse transcription.
Published 2006 in Journal of Virology
Angela Atwood-Moore, Kenneth Yan, Robert L Judson, Henry L Levin
The long terminal repeat retrotransposon Tf1 of Schizosaccharomyces pombe uses a unique mechanism of self priming to initiate reverse transcription. Instead of using a tRNA, Tf1 primes minus-strand synthesis with an 11-nucleotide RNA removed from the 5’ end of its own transcript. We tested whether the self primer of Tf1 was similar to tRNA primers in being removed from the cDNA by RNase H. Our analysis of Tf1 cDNA extracted from virus-like particles revealed the surprising observation that the dominant species of cDNA retained the self primer. This suggests that integration of the cDNA relies on mechanisms other than reverse transcription to remove the primer.