Wei-Wei Suna,b, Shi Jiaoc, Li Suna, Zhaocai Zhouc, Xia Jina, Jian-Hua Wang
The postintegrational latency of HIV-1 is characterized by reversible silencing of long terminal repeat (LTR)-driven transcription of the HIV genome. It is known that the formation of repressive chromatin at the 5′-LTR of HIV-1 proviral DNA impedes viral transcription by blocking the recruitment of positive transcription factors. How the repressive chromatin is formed and modulated during HIV-1 infection remains elusive. Elucidation of which chromatin reassembly factor mediates the reorganization of chromatin is likely to facilitate the understanding of the host’s modulation of HIV-1 transcription and latency. Here we revealed that “Sad1 and UNC84 domain containing 2” (SUN2), an inner nuclear membrane protein, maintained the repressive chromatin and inhibited HIV LTR-driven transcription of proviral DNA through an association with lamin A/C. Specifically, lamin A/C tethered SUN2 to the nucleosomes 1 and 2 of the HIV-1 5′-LTR to block the initiation and elongation of HIV-1 transcription. SUN2 knockdown converted chromatin to an active form and thus enhanced the phosphorylation of RNA polymerase II and its recruitment to the 5′-LTR HIV-1 proviral DNA, leading to reactivation of HIV-1 from latency. Conversely, the exogenous factors such as tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) induced reactivation, and the replication of HIV-1 led to the disassociation between SUN2 and lamin A/C, suggesting that disruption of the association between SUN2 and lamin A/C to convert the repressive chromatin to the active form might be a prerequisite for the initiation of HIV-1 transcription and replication. Together, our findings indicate that SUN2 is a novel chromatin reassembly factor that helps to maintain chromatin in a repressive state and consequently inhibits HIV-1 transcription.