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Active nuclear import of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 preintegration complexes.

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  • Research Article
  • Biology


After cell infection by the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), nascent viral DNA in the form of a high molecular weight nucleoprotein preintegration complex must be transported to the nucleus of the host cell prior to integration of viral DNA with the host genome. The mechanism used by retroviruses for nuclear targeting of preintegration complexes and dependence on cell division has not been established. Our studies show that, after infection, the preintegration complex of HIV-1 was rapidly transported to the nucleus of the host cell by a process that required ATP but was independent of cell division. Functional HIV-1 integrase, an essential component of the preintegration complex, was not required for nuclear import of these complexes. The ability of HIV-1 to use host cell active transport processes for nuclear import of the viral preintegration complex obviates the requirement for host cell division in establishment of the integrated provirus. These findings are pertinent to our understanding of early events in the life cycle of HIV-1 and to the mode of HIV-1 replication in terminally differentiated nondividing cells such as macrophages (monocytes, tissue macrophages, follicular dendritic cells, and microglial cells).

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