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Virology. 2009 Mar 1;385(1):28-38. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2008.10.052. Epub 2008 Dec 18.

Differential HIV-1 integration targets more actively transcribed host genes in neonatal than adult blood mononuclear cells.

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  • 1Department of Immunobiology, University of Arizona, Tucson, 85724, USA.


We have recently shown an increased HIV-1 replication and gene expression in neonatal (cord) blood mononuclear cells compared with adult cells, which could be due to HIV-1 integration as it targets active host genes. Here we have characterized 468 HIV-1 integration sites within cord and adult blood T-lymphocytes and monocyte-derived macrophages (MDM) from five donors. Several functional classes of genes were identified by gene ontology to be over represented, including genes for cellular components, maintenance of intracellular environment, enzyme regulation, cellular metabolism, catalytic activity and cation transport. Numerous potential transcription factor binding sites at the sites of integration were identified. Furthermore, the genes at the site of integration, transcription factors which potentially bind upstream of the HIV-1 promoter and factors that assist HIV-1 integration were found to be expressed at higher levels in cord than adult cells. Taken together, these results suggest HIV-1 integration occurred in a more actively transcribed genes in neonatal cells compared with adult cells, which may help explain a higher level of HIV-1 gene expression and replication in neonatal compared with adult cells.

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