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J Biol Chem. 2004 Dec 31;279(53):55570-7. Epub 2004 Oct 8.

Lens epithelium-derived growth factor/p75 prevents proteasomal degradation of HIV-1 integrase.

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Molecular Medicine Program and Department of Immunology, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.


The transcriptional coactivator lens epithelium-derived growth factor (LEDGF)/p75 acts as a chromatin tethering factor for human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) integrase protein, determining its nuclear localization and its tight association with nuclear DNA. Here we identify a second function for the LEDGF/p75-integrase interaction. We observed that stable introduction of HIV-1 integrase (IN) transcription units into cells made stringently LEDGF/p75-deficient by RNAi resulted in much lower steady state levels of IN protein than introduction into LEDGF/p75 wild type cells. The same LEDGF/p75-dependent disparity was observed for feline immunodeficiency virus IN. However, IN mRNA levels were equivalent in the presence and absence of LEDGF/p75. A post-translational mechanism was confirmed when the half-life of HIV-1 IN protein was found to be much shorter in LEDGF/p75-deficient cells. Proteasome inhibition fully countered this extreme instability, increasing IN protein levels to those seen in LEDGF/p75 wild type cells and implicating proteasomal destruction as the main cause of IN instability. Consistent with these data, increased ubiquitinated HIV-1 IN was found in the LEDGF/p75 knock-down cells. Moreover, restoration of LEDGF/p75 to knocked down clones rescued HIV-1 IN stability. Subcellular fractionation showed that HIV-1 IN is exclusively cytoplasmic in LEDGF/p75-deficient cells, but mainly nuclear in LEDGF/p75 wild type cells, and that cytoplasmic HIV-1 IN has a shorter half-life than nuclear HIV-1 IN. However, using LEDGF proteins defective for nuclear localization and IN interaction, we further determined that protection of HIV-1 IN from the proteasome requires neither chromatin tethering nor nuclear residence. Protection requires only interaction with LEDGF/p75, and it is independent of the subcellular localization of the IN-LEDGF complex.

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