Send to

Choose Destination
EMBO J. 2006 Mar 22;25(6):1295-304. Epub 2006 Feb 16.

Retroviral DNA integration: reaction pathway and critical intermediates.

Author information

Laboratory of Molecular Biology, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


The key DNA cutting and joining steps of retroviral DNA integration are carried out by the viral integrase protein. Structures of the individual domains of integrase have been determined, but their organization in the active complex with viral DNA is unknown. We show that HIV-1 integrase forms stable synaptic complexes in which a tetramer of integrase is stably associated with a pair of viral DNA ends. The viral DNA is processed within these complexes, which go on to capture the target DNA and integrate the viral DNA ends. The joining of the two viral DNA ends to target DNA occurs sequentially, with a stable intermediate complex in which only one DNA end is joined. The integration product also remains stably associated with integrase and likely requires disassembly before completion of the integration process by cellular enzymes. The results define the series of stable nucleoprotein complexes that mediate retroviral DNA integration.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center