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Nat Methods. 2006 Oct;3(10):817-24.

Quantitative four-dimensional tracking of cytoplasmic and nuclear HIV-1 complexes.

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Groupe de Virologie Mol├ęculaire et Vectorologie, Institut Pasteur, 25-28 rue du Dr. Roux, 75724 Paris, France.


Emerging real-time techniques for imaging viral infections provide powerful tools for understanding the dynamics of virus-host cell interactions. Here we labeled human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) integrase with a small tetracysteine tag, which preserved the virus' infectivity while allowing it to be labeled with the bis-arsenical fluorescein derivative FlAsH. This labeling allowed us to image both intracytoplasmic and intranuclear HIV-1 complexes in three dimensions over time (4D) in human cells and enabled us to analyze HIV-1 kinetics by automated 4D quantitative particle tracking. In the cytoplasm, HIV-1 complexes underwent directed movements toward the nuclear compartment, kinetically characteristic of both microtubule- and actin-dependent transport. The complexes then adopted smaller movements in a very confined volume once associated with the nuclear membrane and more diffuse movements once inside the nucleus. This work contributes new insight into the various movements of HIV-1 complexes within infected cells and provides a useful tool for the study of virus-host cell interactions during infection.

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