Intranuclear Positions of HIV-1 Proviruses Are Dynamic and Do Not Correlate with Transcriptional Activity

Ryan C. Burdick, Claire Deleage, Alice Duchon, Jacob D. Estes, Wei Shau Hu, Vinay K. Pathak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The relationship between spatiotemporal distribution of HIV-1 proviruses and their transcriptional activity is not well understood. To elucidate the intranuclear positions of transcriptionally active HIV-1 proviruses, we utilized an RNA fluorescence in situ hybridization assay and RNA stem loops that bind to fluorescently labeled bacterial protein (Bgl-mCherry) to specifically detect HIV-1 transcription sites. Initially, transcriptionally active wild-type proviruses were located closer to the nuclear envelope (NE) than expected by random chance in HeLa (;1.4 mm) and CEM-SS T cells (;0.9 mm). Disrupting interactions between HIV-1 capsid and host cleavage and polyadenylation specificity factor (CPSF6) resulted in localization of proviruses to lamina-associated domains (LADs) adjacent to the NE in HeLa cells (;0.9 - 1.0 mm); however, in CEM-SS T cells, there was little or no shift toward the NE (;0.9 mm), indicating cell-type differences in the locations of transcriptionally active proviruses. The distance from the NE was not correlated with transcriptional activity, and transcriptionally active proviruses were randomly distributed throughout the HeLa cell after several cell divisions, indicating that the intranuclear locations of the chromosomal sites of integration are dynamic. After nuclear import HIV-1 cores colocalized with nuclear speckles, nuclear domains enriched in pre-mRNA splicing factors, but transcriptionally active proviruses detected 20 h after infection were mostly located outside but near nuclear speckles, suggesting a dynamic relationship between the speckles and integration sites. Overall, these studies establish that the nuclear distribution of HIV-1 proviruses is dynamic and the distance between HIV-1 proviruses and the NE does not correlate with transcriptional activity. IMPORTANCE HIV-1 integrates its genomic DNA into the chromosomes of the infected cell, but how it selects the site of integration and the impact of their location in the 3-dimensional nuclear space is not well understood. Here, we examined the nuclear locations of proviruses 1 and 5 days after infection and found that integration sites are first located near the nuclear envelope but become randomly distributed throughout the nucleus after a few cell divisions, indicating that the locations of the chromosomal sites of integration that harbor transcriptionally active proviruses are dynamic. We also found that the distance from the nuclear envelope to the integration site is cell-type dependent and does not correlate with proviral transcription activity. Finally, we observed that HIV-1 cores were localized to nuclear speckles shortly after nuclear import, but transcriptionally active proviruses were located adjacent to nuclear speckles. Overall, these studies provide insights into HIV-1 integration site selection and their effect on transcription activities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere03256
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • CPSF6
  • Capsid
  • HIV-1
  • Integration
  • Transcription

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Virology


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