Defining the DNA Substrate Binding Sites on HIV-1 Integrase

James Dolan, Aiping Chen, Irene T. Weber, Robert W. Harrison, Jonathan Leis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


A tetramer model for human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) integrase (IN) with DNA representing long terminal repeat (LTR) termini was previously assembled to predict the IN residues that interact with the LTR termini; these predictions were experimentally verified for nine amino acid residues [Chen, A., Weber, I. T., Harrison, R. W. & Leis, J. (2006). Identification of amino acids in HIV-1 and avian sarcoma virus integrase subsites required for specific recognition of the long terminal repeat ends. J. Biol. Chem., 281, 4173-4182]. In a similar strategy, the unique amino acids found in avian sarcoma virus IN, rather than HIV-1 or Mason-Pfizer monkey virus IN, were substituted into the structurally related positions of HIV-1 IN. Substitutions of six additional residues (Q44, L68, E69, D229, S230, and D253) showed changes in the 3′ processing specificity of the enzyme, verifying their predicted interaction with the LTR DNA. The newly identified residues extend interactions along a 16-bp length of the LTR termini and are consistent with known LTR DNA/HIV-1 IN cross-links. The tetramer model for HIV-1 IN with LTR termini was modified to include two IN binding domains for lens-epithelium-derived growth factor/p75. The target DNA was predicted to bind in a surface trench perpendicular to the plane of the LTR DNA binding sites of HIV-1 IN and extending alongside lens-epithelium-derived growth factor. This hypothesis is supported by the in vitro activity phenotype of HIV-1 IN mutant, with a K219S substitution showing loss in strand transfer activity while maintaining 3′ processing on an HIV-1 substrate. Mutations at seven other residues reported in the literature have the same phenotype, and all eight residues align along the length of the putative target DNA binding trench.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)568-579
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 16 2009


  • DNA
  • HIV-1
  • integrase
  • model structure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology

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