BACKGROUND: INI1/hSNF5 is a cellular protein that directly interacts with HIV-1 integrase (IN). It is specifically incorporated into HIV-1 virions. A dominant negative mutant derived from INI1 inhibits HIV-1 replication. Recent studies indicate that INI1 is associated with pre-integration and reverse transcription complexes that are formed upon viral entry into the target cells. INI1 also is a tumor suppressor, biallelically deleted/mutated in malignant rhabdoid tumors. We have utilized cell lines derived from the rhabdoid tumors, MON and STA-WT1, that harbor either null or truncating mutations of INI1 respectively, to assess the effect of INI1 on HIV-1 replication.
RESULTS: We found that while HIV-1 virions produced in 293T cells efficiently transduced MON and STA-WT1 cells, HIV-1 particle production was severely reduced in both of these cells. Reintroduction of INI1 into MON and STA-WT1 significantly enhanced the particle production in both cell lines. HIV-1 particles produced in MON cells were reduced for infectivity, while those produced in STA-WT1 were not. Further analysis indicated the presence of INI1 in those virions produced from STA-WT1 but not from those produced from MON cells. HIV-1 produced in MON cells were defective for synthesis of early and late reverse transcription products in the target cells. Furthermore, virions produced in MON cells were defective for exogenous reverse transcriptase activity carried out using exogenous template, primer and substrate.
CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that INI1-deficient cells exhibit reduced particle production that can be partly enhanced by re-introduction of INI1. Infectivity of HIV-1 produced in some but not all INI1 defective cells, is affected and this defect may correlate to the lack of INI1 and/or some other proteins in these virions. The block in early events of virion produced from MON cells appears to be at the stage of reverse transcription. These studies suggest that presence of INI1 or some other host factor in virions and reverse transcription complexes may be important for early events of HIV-1 replication.
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