Overexpression of the human Sad-1-Unc-84 homology protein 2 (SUN2) blocks HIV-1 infection in a capsid-dependent manner. In agreement, we showed that overexpression of SUN1 (Sad1 and UNC-84a) also blocks HIV-1 infection in a capsid-dependent manner. SUN2 and the related protein SUN1 are transmembrane proteins located in the inner membrane of the nuclear envelope. The N-terminal domains of SUN1/2 localizes to the nucleoplasm while the C-terminal domains are localized in the nuclear lamina. Because the N-terminal domains of SUN1/2 are located in the nucleoplasm, we hypothesized that SUN1/2 might be interacting with the HIV-1 replication complex in the nucleus leading to HIV-1 inhibition. Our results demonstrated that SUN1/2 interacts with the HIV-1 capsid, and in agreement with our hypothesis, the use of N-terminal deletion mutants showed that SUN1/2 proteins bind to the viral capsid by using its N-terminal domain. SUN1/2 deletion mutants correlated restriction of HIV-1 with capsid binding. Interestingly, the ability of SUN1/2 to restrict HIV-1 also correlated with perinuclear localization of these proteins. In agreement with the notion that SUN proteins interact with the HIV-1 capsid in the nucleus, we found that restriction of HIV-1 by overexpression of SUN proteins do not block the entry of the HIV-1 core into the nucleus. Our results showed that HIV-1 restriction is mediated by the interaction of SUN1/2N-terminal domains with the HIV-1 core in the nuclear compartment.
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