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Biopolymers. 2003 Jan;68(1):110-20.

Modeling HIV-1 integrase complexes based on their hydrodynamic properties.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of California San Diego, 9500 Gilman Dr., La Jolla, CA 92093-0365, USA.


We present a model structure of a candidate tetramer for HIV-1 integrase. The model was built in three steps using data from fluorescence anisotropy, structures of the individual integrase domains, cross-linking data, and other biochemical data. First, the structure of the full-length integrase monomer was modeled using the individual domain structures and the hydrodynamic properties of the full-length protein that were recently measured by fluorescence depolarization. We calculated the rotational correlation times for different arrangements of three integrase domains, revealing that only structures with close proximity among the domains satisfied the experimental data. The orientations of the domains were constrained by iterative tests against the data on cross-linking and footprinting in integrase-DNA complexes. Second, the structure of an integrase dimer was obtained by joining the model monomers in accordance with the available dimeric crystal structures of the catalytic core. The hydrodynamic properties of the dimer were in agreement with the experimental values. Third, the active sites of the two model dimers were placed in agreement with the spacing between the sites of integration on target DNA as well as the integrase-DNA cross-linking data, resulting in twofold symmetry of a tetrameric complex. The model is consistent with the experimental data indicating that the F185K substitution, which is found in the model at a tetramerization interface, selectively disrupts correct complex formation in vitro and HIV replication in vivo. Our model of the integrase tetramer bound to DNA may help to design anti-integrase inhibitors.

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