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Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 preintegration complexes: studies of organization and composition.

By M D Miller, C M Farnet and F D Bushman


We have investigated the organization and function of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) preintegration complexes (PICs), the large nucleoprotein particles that carry out cDNA integration in vivo. PICs can be isolated from HIV-1-infected cells, and such particles are capable of carrying out integration reactions in vitro. We find that although the PICs are large, the cDNA must be condensed to fit into the measured volume. The ends of the cDNA are probably linked by a protein bridge, since coordinated joining of the two ends is not disrupted by cleaving the cDNA internally with a restriction enzyme. cDNA ends in PICs were protected from digestion by added exonucleases, probably due to binding of proteins. The intervening cDNA, in contrast, was susceptible to attack by endonucleases. Previous work has established that the virus-encoded integrase protein is present in PICs, and we have reported recently that the host protein HMG I(Y) is also present. Here we report that the viral matrix and reverse transcriptase (RT) proteins also cofractionated with PICs through several steps whereas capsid and nucleocapsid proteins dissociated. These data support a model of PIC organization in which the cDNA is condensed in a partially disassembled remnant of the viral core, with proteins tightly associated at the apposed cDNA ends but loosely associated with the intervening cDNA. In characterizing the structure of the cDNA ends, we found that the U5 DNA ends created by RT were ragged, probably due to the terminal transferase activity of RT. Only molecules correctly cleaved by integrase protein at the 3' ends were competent to integrate, suggesting that one role for terminal cleavage by integrase may be to create a defined end at otherwise heterogeneous cDNA termini

Topics: Research Article
Year: 1997
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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