Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Markus Germann

Second Advisor

W. David Wilson

Third Advisor

Gregory Poon


In the HIV viral integration procedure, 3’-processing of the viral DNA by the integrase enzyme is an essential first step which is followed by the integration of viral DNA into the host genome. In 3’-processing, the integrase cleaves the backbone of the DNA substrate on the 3’ end of a conserved CA dinucleotide motif and inserts a helix between the two DNA strands, forcing them apart (Hare, S., 2012). Our study confirms that the presence of a G-amino group is crucial for 3’-processing. Substituting inosine for G in the CA step removes this amino group and results in loss of enzyme activity. Further work showed that the presence of a terminal duplex segment is not required for 3’-processing. Additional substrate modifications are studied in order to evaluate the actual importance of the CA step.