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Trends Biochem Sci. 2006 Feb;31(2):98-105. Epub 2006 Jan 5.

Cellular co-factors of HIV-1 integration.

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  • 1Molecular Virology and Gene Therapy, Molecular Medicine, KULAK and K.U. Leuven, Kapucijnenvoer 33 3000 Leuven, Flanders, Belgium.


To achieve productive infection, the reverse transcribed cDNA of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is inserted in the host cell genome. The main protein responsible for this reaction is the viral integrase. However, studies indicate that the virus is assisted by cellular proteins, or co-factors, to achieve integration into the infected cell. The barrier-to-autointegration factor (BAF) might prevent autointegration. Its ability to bridge DNA and the finding that the nuclear lamina-associated polypeptide-2alpha interacts with BAF suggest a role in nuclear structure organization. Integrase interactor 1 was found to directly interact with HIV-1 integrase and to activate its DNA-joining activity, and the high mobility group chromosomal protein A1 might approximate both long terminal repeat (LTR) ends and facilitate integrase binding by unwinding the LTR termini. Furthermore, the lens-epithelium-derived growth factor (LEDGF; also known as p75) seems to tether HIV-1 integrase to the chromosomes. Although a direct role in integration has only been demonstrated for LEDGF/p75, to date, each validated cellular co-factor for HIV-1 integration could constitute a promising new target for antiviral therapy.

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