Integrase-RNA interactions underscore the critical role of integrase in HIV-1 virion morphogenesis

Jennifer Elliott, Jenna E. Eschbach, Pratibha C. Koneru, Wen Li, Maritza Puray-Chavez, Dana Townsend, Dana Lawson, Alan N. Engelman, Mamuka Kvaratskhelia, Sebla B. Kutluay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


A large number of human immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV-1) integrase (IN) alterations, referred to as class II substitutions, exhibit pleotropic effects during virus replication. However, the underlying mechanism for the class II phenotype is not known. Here we demonstrate that all tested class II IN substitutions compromised IN-RNA binding in virions by one of three distinct mechanisms: i) markedly reducing IN levels thus precluding formation of IN complexes with viral RNA; ii) adversely affecting functional IN multimerization and consequently impairing IN binding to viral RNA; iii) directly compromising IN-RNA interactions without substantially affecting IN levels or functional IN multimerization. Inhibition of IN-RNA interactions resulted in mislocalization of the viral ribonucleoprotein complexes outside the capsid lattice, which led to premature degradation of the viral genome and IN in target cells. Collectively, our studies uncover causal mechanisms for the class II phenotype and highlight an essential role of IN-RNA interactions for accurate virion maturation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere54311
Pages (from-to)1-56
Number of pages56
StatePublished - Sep 2020


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