LEDGF/p75 can tether over-expressed lentiviral integrase proteins to chromatin but how this underlies its integration cofactor role for these retroviruses is unclear. While a single integrase binding domain (IBD) binds integrase, a complex N-terminal domain ensemble (NDE) interacts with unknown chromatin ligands. Whether integration requires chromatin tethering per se, specific NDE-chromatin ligand interactions or other emergent properties of LEDGF/p75 has been elusive. Here we replaced the NDE with strongly divergent chromatin-binding modules. The chimeras rescued integrase tethering and HIV-1 integration in LEDGF/p75-deficient cells. Furthermore, chromatin ligands could reside inside or outside the nucleosome core, and could be protein or DNA. Remarkably, a short Kaposi's sarcoma virus peptide that binds the histone 2A/B dimer converted GFP-IBD from an integration blocker to an integration cofactor that rescues over two logs of infectivity. NDE mutants were corroborative. Chromatin tethering per se is a basic HIV-1 requirement and this rather than engagement of particular chromatin ligands is important for the LEDGF/p75 cofactor mechanism.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology