The HIV-1 nucleocapsid chaperone protein forms locally compacted globules on long double-stranded DNA
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2021

The nucleocapsid (NC) protein plays key roles in Human Immunodeficiency Virus 1 (HIV-1) replication, notably by condensing and protecting the viral RNA genome and by chaperoning its reverse transcription into double-stranded DNA (dsDNA). Recent findings suggest that integration of viral dsDNA into the host genome, and hence productive infection, is linked to a small subpopulation of viral complexes where reverse transcription was completed within the intact capsid. Therefore, the synthesized dsDNA has to be tightly compacted, most likely by NC, to prevent breaking of the capsid in these complexes. To investigate NC's ability to compact viral dsDNA, we here characterize the compaction of single dsDNA molecules under unsaturated NC binding conditions using nanofluidic channels. Compaction is shown to result from accumulation of NC at one or few compaction sites, which leads to small dsDNA condensates. NC preferentially initiates compaction at flexible regions along the dsDNA, such as AT-rich regions and DNA ends. Upon further NC binding, these condensates develop into a globular state containing the whole dsDNA molecule. These findings support NC's role in viral dsDNA compaction within the mature HIV-1 capsid and suggest a possible scenario for the gradual dsDNA decondensation upon capsid uncoating and NC loss.


Kai Jiang

Chalmers, Biologi och bioteknik, Kemisk biologi

Nicolas Humbert

Université de Strasbourg

Sriram Kesarimangalam

Chalmers, Biologi och bioteknik, Kemisk biologi

I. Rouzina

Ohio State University

Yves Mely

Université de Strasbourg

Fredrik Westerlund

Chalmers, Biologi och bioteknik, Kemisk biologi

Nucleic Acids Research

0305-1048 (ISSN) 1362-4962 (eISSN)

Vol. 49 8 4550-4563


Biokemi och molekylärbiologi

Medicinsk bioteknologi (med inriktning mot cellbiologi (inklusive stamcellsbiologi), molekylärbiologi, mikrobiologi, biokemi eller biofarmaci)

Mikrobiologi inom det medicinska området





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