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Open Access Research

A role for the histone deacetylase HDAC4 in the life-cycle of HIV-1-based vectors

Johanna A Smith1, Jennifer Yeung1, Gary D Kao2 and René Daniel134*

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Infectious Diseases - Center for Human Virology, Department of Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA

2 Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA

3 Center for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA

4 Kimmel Cancer Center, Immunology Program, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA

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Virology Journal 2010, 7:237  doi:10.1186/1743-422X-7-237

Published: 16 September 2010


HIV-1 integration is mediated by the HIV-1 integrase protein, which joins 3'-ends of viral DNA to host cell DNA. To complete the integration process, HIV-1 DNA has to be joined to host cell DNA also at the 5'-ends. This process is called post-integration repair (PIR). Integration and PIR involve a number of cellular co-factors. These proteins exhibit different degrees of involvement in integration and/or PIR. Some are required for efficient integration or PIR. On the other hand, some reduce the efficiency of integration. Finally, some are involved in integration site selection. We have studied the role of the histone deacetylase HDAC4 in these processes. HDAC4 was demonstrated to play a role in both cellular double-strand DNA break repair and transcriptional regulation. We observed that HDAC4 associates with viral DNA in an integrase-dependent manner. Moreover, infection with HIV-1-based vectors induces foci of the HDAC4 protein. The related histone deacetylases, HDAC2 and HDAC6, failed to associate with viral DNA after infection. These data suggest that HDAC4 accumulates at integration sites. Finally, overexpression studies with HDAC4 mutants suggest that HDAC4 may be required for efficient transduction by HIV-1-based vectors in cells that are deficient in other DNA repair proteins. We conclude that HDAC4 is likely involved in PIR.