Scientific reports 2016 Nov 106() 36485 doi 10.1038/srep36485
Nuclear entry is a selective, dynamic process granting the HIV-1 pre-integration complex (PIC) access to the chromatin. Classical analysis of nuclear entry of heterogeneous viral particles only yields averaged information. We now have employed single-virus fluorescence methods to follow the fate of single viral pre-integration complexes (PICs) during infection by visualizing HIV-1 integrase (IN). Nuclear entry is associated with a reduction in the number of IN molecules in the complexes while the interaction with LEDGF/p75 enhances IN oligomerization in the nucleus. Addition of LEDGINs, small molecule inhibitors of the IN-LEDGF/p75 interaction, during virus production, prematurely stabilizes a higher-order IN multimeric state, resulting in stable IN multimers resistant to a reduction in IN content and defective for nuclear entry. This suggests that a stringent size restriction determines nuclear pore entry. Taken together, this work demonstrates the power of single-virus imaging providing crucial insights in HIV replication and enabling mechanism-of-action studies.