Upon entry into a host cell, retroviruses direct the reverse transcription of the viral RNA genome and the establishment of an integrated proviral DNA. The retroviral integrase protein (IN) is responsible for the insertion of the viral DNA into host chromosomal targets. The two-hybrid system was used to identify a human gene product that binds tightly to the human immunodeficiency virus-type 1 (HIV-1) integrase in vitro and stimulates its DNA-joining activity. The sequence of the gene suggests that the protein is a human homolog of yeast SNF5, a transcriptional activator required for high-level expression of many genes. The gene, termed INI1 (for integrase interactor 1), may encode a nuclear factor that promotes integration and targets incoming viral DNA to active genes.
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