Chromatin Tethering of Incoming Foamy Virus by the Structural Gag Protein

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Retroviruses hijack cellular machineries to productively infect their hosts. During the early stages of viral replication, proviral integration relies on specific interactions between components of the preintegration complex and host chromatin-bound proteins. Here, analyzing the fate of incoming primate foamy virus, we identify a short domain within the C-terminus of the structural Gag protein that efficiently binds host chromosomes, by interacting with H2A/H2B core histones. While viral particle production, virus entry and intracellular trafficking are not affected by mutation of this domain, chromosomal attachment of incoming subviral complexes is abolished, precluding proviral integration. We thus highlight a new function of the structural foamy Gag protein as the main tether between incoming subviral complexes and host chromatin prior to integration.

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