HIV-1 capsid-cyclophilin interactions determine nuclear import pathway, integration targeting and replication efficiency

PLoS Pathog. 2011 Dec;7(12):e1002439. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1002439. Epub 2011 Dec 8.


Lentiviruses such as HIV-1 traverse nuclear pore complexes (NPC) and infect terminally differentiated non-dividing cells, but how they do this is unclear. The cytoplasmic NPC protein Nup358/RanBP2 was identified as an HIV-1 co-factor in previous studies. Here we report that HIV-1 capsid (CA) binds directly to the cyclophilin domain of Nup358/RanBP2. Fusion of the Nup358/RanBP2 cyclophilin (Cyp) domain to the tripartite motif of TRIM5 created a novel inhibitor of HIV-1 replication, consistent with an interaction in vivo. In contrast to CypA binding to HIV-1 CA, Nup358 binding is insensitive to inhibition with cyclosporine, allowing contributions from CypA and Nup358 to be distinguished. Inhibition of CypA reduced dependence on Nup358 and the nuclear basket protein Nup153, suggesting that CypA regulates the choice of the nuclear import machinery that is engaged by the virus. HIV-1 cyclophilin-binding mutants CA G89V and P90A favored integration in genomic regions with a higher density of transcription units and associated features than wild type virus. Integration preference of wild type virus in the presence of cyclosporine was similarly altered to regions of higher transcription density. In contrast, HIV-1 CA alterations in another patch on the capsid surface that render the virus less sensitive to Nup358 or TRN-SR2 depletion (CA N74D, N57A) resulted in integration in genomic regions sparse in transcription units. Both groups of CA mutants are impaired in replication in HeLa cells and human monocyte derived macrophages. Our findings link HIV-1 engagement of cyclophilins with both integration targeting and replication efficiency and provide insight into the conservation of viral cyclophilin recruitment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Active Transport, Cell Nucleus / physiology
  • Blotting, Western
  • Capsid Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Cell Nucleus / virology*
  • Cyclophilin A / metabolism*
  • HIV Infections / metabolism*
  • HIV-1 / physiology*
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Macrophages / virology
  • Molecular Chaperones / metabolism
  • Nuclear Pore Complex Proteins / metabolism
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Virus Replication* / physiology


  • Capsid Proteins
  • Molecular Chaperones
  • Nuclear Pore Complex Proteins
  • ran-binding protein 2
  • Cyclophilin A