HIV Integration - HIV Integration Mechanism - Transfer of HIV DNA Into The Host DNA (Strand Transfer)

Transfer of HIV DNA Into The Host DNA (Strand Transfer)

The next step, the strand transfer reaction, takes place inside the host cell nucleus and involves the critical step of inserting the HIV DNA into a selected region of the host DNA. The region of insertion contains a weakly conserved palindromic sequence. This strand transfer reaction is initiated as the HIV integrase catalyzes the HIV DNA 3’-hydroxyl group attack on the host DNA. The attack by the HIV DNA occurs on opposite strands of the host DNA in a staggered fashion, typically 4-6 base pairs apart. This reaction leads to separation of the bonds in the host DNA base pairs located between the staggered cuts, and the joining of the HIV 3’-hydroxyl groups with the host DNA 5’ phosphate ends. At this point, the newly joined viral-host DNA region unfolds.

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