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Gene. 1994 Jun 10;143(2):155-63.

Regional specificity of HTLV-I proviral integration in the human genome.

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Laboratoire de Génétique Moléculaire, Institut Jacques Monod, Paris, France.


The location of HTLV-I (human T-cell leukemia virus type 1) proviral sequences in the genome of infected human cells was explored by hybridization of a viral probe with compositional fractions of host-cell DNAs. In the twelve cases examined, HTLV-I sequences were absent from the GC-poorest 40% of the host genome (namely, from isochores that are below 39% GC). Transcriptionally inactive proviral sequences were localized in GC-poor isochores (comprised between 39% and 42-44% GC) of the human genome, which are characterized by a constant and low gene concentration. In contrast, transcriptionally active proviral sequences were found in the GC-rich and very GC-rich isochores, which are gene rich, transcriptionally and recombinationally active, and endowed with an open chromatin structure. Since GC-rich isochores are present in R'-bands and very GC-rich isochores form T-bands, these results also provide information on the location of HTLV-I proviral sequences in human chromosomes. The results obtained with HTLV-I are in agreement with the non-random, compartmentalized integration of animal retroviral sequences that had been previously observed in other viral-host systems. They provide, however, much more detailed information on the regional location of proviral sequences in the host genome and on the correlation between their transcription and their location.

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