HIV-1 proviral DNA excision using an evolved recombinase

Science. 2007 Jun 29;316(5833):1912-5. doi: 10.1126/science.1141453.


HIV-1 integrates into the host chromosome and persists as a provirus flanked by long terminal repeats (LTRs). To date, treatment regimens primarily target the virus enzymes or virus-cell fusion, but not the integrated provirus. We report here the substrate-linked protein evolution of a tailored recombinase that recognizes an asymmetric sequence within an HIV-1 LTR. This evolved recombinase efficiently excised integrated HIV proviral DNA from the genome of infected cells. Although a long way from use in the clinic, we speculate that this type of technology might be adapted in future antiretroviral therapies, among other possible uses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA Shuffling
  • DNA, Viral / metabolism*
  • Directed Molecular Evolution*
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Gene Library
  • Genome, Human
  • HIV Long Terminal Repeat*
  • HIV-1 / metabolism*
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Integrases / genetics*
  • Integrases / metabolism*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation
  • Proviruses / metabolism
  • Recombination, Genetic
  • Virus Integration*


  • DNA, Viral
  • Cre recombinase
  • Integrases