Transportin-1 binds to the HIV-1 capsid via a nuclear localization signal and triggers uncoating

Juliette Fernandez, Anthony Machado, Sebastien Lyonnais, Celia Chamontin, Kathleen Gaertner, Thibault Leger, Corinne Henriquet, Camille Garcia, Debora Portilho, Martine Pugniere, Laurent Chaloin, Delphine Muriaux, Yohei Yamauchi, Mickael Blaise, Sebastien Nisole, Nathalie Arhel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


The initial steps of HIV replication in host cells prime the virus for passage through the nuclear pore and drive the establishment of a productive and irreparable infection1,2. The timely release of the viral genome from the capsid—referred to as uncoating—is emerging as a critical parameter for nuclear import, but the triggers and mechanisms that orchestrate these steps are unknown. Here, we identify β-karyopherin Transportin-1 (TRN-1) as a cellular co-factor of HIV-1 infection, which binds to incoming capsids, triggers their uncoating and promotes viral nuclear import. Depletion of TRN-1, which we characterized by mass spectrometry, significantly reduced the early steps of HIV-1 infection in target cells, including primary CD4+ T cells. TRN-1 bound directly to capsid nanotubes and induced dramatic structural damage, indicating that TRN-1 is necessary and sufficient for uncoating in vitro. Glycine 89 on the capsid protein, which is positioned within a nuclear localization signal in the cyclophilin A-binding loop, is critical for engaging the hydrophobic pocket of TRN-1 at position W730. In addition, TRN-1 promotes the efficient nuclear import of both viral DNA and capsid protein. Our study suggests that TRN-1 mediates the timely release of the HIV-1 genome from the capsid protein shell and efficient viral nuclear import.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1840-1850
Number of pages11
JournalNature Microbiology
Publication statusPublished - 14 Oct 2019


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