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In Vitro Selective Binding of tRNAs to rRNAs of Vertebrates

Wen K. Yang, David L. R. Hwang


In this paper, we review briefly some previous studies, including those from our laboratories, concerning primer tRNAs of neoplasia-related retroviruses and then describe the results of a series of experiments demonstrating that in an in vitro hybridization reaction, selective tRNA species are capable of binding to rRNAs of various vertebrates. The experiments were carried out as a result of an initial observation made in a control study on the binding of primer tRNAs to retroviral genomic RNAs. Although the biological significance of selective tRNA binding to rRNAs in vitro is still in question, there seems to be a striking similarity between this phenomenon and the interaction of primer tRNAs with genomic RNAs of endogenous retroviruses. Thus, a novel experimental approach to the study of cellular expression and genetic origin of retroviruses has become apparent to us. The applicability of this experimental approach, especially to cancer research, is discussed here.

Virions of retroviruses have been shown to contain a large quantity of tRNA (Beaudreau et al. 1964; Bonar et al. 1967; Trávnicek 1968; Carnegie et al. 1969; Erikson and Erikson 1970; Bishop et al. 1970; Rosenthal and Zamecnik 1973a,b; Elder and Smith 1973; Gallagher and Gallo 1973; Larsen et al. 1973; Sompayrac and Maaløe 1973; Sawyer and Dahlberg 1973; Waters et al. 1975). Aminoacylation and absorbance determinations indicate that at least 200 tRNA molecules, in addition to one 60S–70S RNA molecule, are included in a virion particle. The virion-included tRNA includes tRNA...

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