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Keywords:

  • HIV-1;
  • importins;
  • nuclear import;
  • reverse transcription complex;
  • small interfering RNA

Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), like other lentiviruses, can infect non-dividing cells. This property depends on the active nuclear import of its intracellular reverse transcription complex (RTC). We have studied nuclear import of purified HIV-1 RTCs in primary macrophages and found that importin 7, an import receptor for ribosomal proteins and histone H1, is involved in the process. Nuclear import of RTCs requires, in addition, energy and the com ponents of the Ran system. Depletion of importin 7 from cultured cells by small interfering RNA inhibits HIV-1 infection. These results provide a new insight into the molecular mechanism for HIV-1 nuclear import and reveal potential targets for therapeutic intervention.