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Adv Genet. 2005;55:147-81.

Retroviral DNA integration--mechanism and consequences.

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Infectious Disease Laboratory, The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, CA 92186, USA.


Integration of retroviral cDNA into the host cell chromosome is an essential step in its replication. This process is catalyzed by the retroviral integrase protein, which is conserved among retroviruses and retrotransposons. Integrase binds viral and host DNA in a complex, called the preintegration complex (PIC), with other viral and cellular proteins. While the PIC is capable of directing integration of the viral DNA into any chromosomal location, different retroviruses have clear preferences for integration in or near particular chromosomal features. The determinants of integration site selection are under investigation but may include retrovirus-specific interactions between integrase and tethering factors bound to the host cell chromosomes. Research into the mechanisms of retroviral integration site selection has shed light on the phenomena of insertional mutagenesis and viral latency.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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