The HIV-1 accessory protein Vif was found to modulate the RNA- and DNA-dependent DNA synthesis activity of the viral RT (reverse transcriptase) in two ways: (i) it stimulated the binding of the viral RT to the primer by increasing the association rate kcat/Km and by decreasing the thermodynamic barrier ΔH[ES] for complex fomation, and (ii) it increased the polymerization rate of HIV-1 RT. A Vif mutant lacking the final 56 amino acids at the C-terminus failed to stimulate the viral RT. On the other hand, another Vif mutant lacking the first 43 amino acids at the N-terminus, which are involved in RNA binding and interaction with the viral protease, was able to stimulate RT activity. In addition, Vif was found to promote the bypass of an abasic site by HIV-1 RT.

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