Interaction of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 integrase with cellular nuclear import receptor importin 7 and its impact on viral replication

  • Ao Z
  • Huang G
  • Yao H
 et al. 
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Similar to all other viruses, human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) depends heavily on cellular factors for its successful replication. In this study we have investigated the interaction of HIV-1 integrase (IN) with several host nuclear import factors using co-immunoprecipitation assays. Our results indicate that IN interacts specifically with host importin 7 (Imp7) in vivo, but does not interact with importin 8 (Imp8) or importin alpha (Rch1). In contrast, another HIV-1 karyophilic protein MAp17, which is capable of binding Rch1, fails to interact with Imp7, suggesting that IN and Map17 may interact with different cellular pathways during HIV-1 replication. Genetic analysis revealed that the C-terminal domain of IN is the region responsible for interaction between IN with Imp7, and an IN mutant (K240A,K244A/R263A,K264A) disrupted the Imp7 binding ability of the protein, indicating that both regions ((235)WKGPAKLLWKG and (262)RRKAK) within the C-terminal domain of IN are required for efficient IN/Imp7 interaction. Using a vesicular stomatitis virus G glycoprotein pseudotyped HIV single-cycle replication system, we showed that the IN/Imp7 interaction-deficient mutant was unable to mediate viral replication and displayed impairment at both viral reverse transcription and nuclear import steps. Moreover, transient knockdown of Imp7 in both HIV-1 producing and target cells resulted in a 2.5-3.5-fold inhibition of HIV infection. Altogether, our results indicate that HIV-1 IN specifically interacts with Imp7, and this viral/cellular protein interaction contributes to efficient HIV-1 infection.

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