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Identification of Critical Amino Acid Residues in Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 IN Required for Efficient Proviral DNA Formation at Steps prior to Integration in Dividing and Nondividing Cells

American Society for Microbiology
Publication Date
  • Replication
  • Biology


Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 integrase (HIV-1 IN) is thought to have several putative roles at steps prior to integration, such as reverse transcription and nuclear transport of the preintegration complex (PIC). Here, we investigated new functional aspects of HIV-1 IN in the context of the viral replication cycle through point mutagenesis of Ser, Thr, Tyr, Lys, and Arg residues conserved in IN, some of which are located at possible phosphorylation sites. Our results showed that mutations of these Ser or Thr residues had no effect on reverse transcription and nuclear transport of PIC but had a slight effect on integration. Of note, mutations in the conserved KRK motif (amino acids 186 to 189), proposed previously as a putative nuclear localization signal (NLS) of HIV-1 IN, did not affect the karyophilic property of HIV-1 IN as shown by using a green fluorescent protein fusion protein expression system. Instead, these KRK mutations resulted in an almost complete lack of viral gene expression due to the failure to complete reverse transcription. This defect was complemented by supplying wild-type IN in trans, suggesting a trans-acting function of the KRK motif of IN in reverse transcription. Mutation at the conserved Tyr 143 (Y143G) resulted in partial impairment of completion of reverse transcription in monocyte-derived macrophages (MDM) but not in rhabdomyosarcoma cells. Similar effects were obtained by introducing a stop codon in the vpr gene (ΔVpr), and additive effects of both mutations (Y143G plus ΔVpr) were observed. In addition, these mutants did not produce two-long terminal repeat DNA, a surrogate marker for nuclear entry, in MDM. Thus, the possible impairment of Y143G might occur during the nuclear transport of the PIC. Taken together, our results identified new functional aspects of the conserved residues in HIV-1 IN: i) the KRK motif might have a role in efficient reverse transcription in both dividing and nondividing cells but not in the NLS function; ii) Y143 might be an important residue for maintaining efficient proviral DNA formation in nondividing cells.

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