Retroviral DNA integration

Patrick Hindmarsh, Jonathan Peter Leis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

154 Scopus citations


DNA integration is a unique enzymatic process shared by all retroviruses and retrotransposons. During integration, double-stranded linear viral DNA is inserted into the host genome in a process catalyzed by the virus-encoded integrase (IN). The mechanism involves a series of nucleophillic attacks, the first of which removes the terminal 2 bases from the 3' ends of the long terminal repeats and of the second which inserts the viral DNA into the host genome. IN specifically recognizes the DNA sequences at the termini of the viral DNA, juxtaposing both ends in an enzyme complex that inserts the vital DNA into a single site in a concerted manner. Small duplications of the host DNA, characteristic of the viral IN, are found at the sites of insertion. At least two host proteins, HMG-I(Y) and BAF, have been shown to increase the efficiency of the integration reaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)836-843
Number of pages8
JournalMicrobiology and Molecular Biology Reviews
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Molecular Biology
  • Microbiology


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