Integrase interactor 1 (Ini1/hSNF5/BAF47/SMARCB1), the core subunit of the ATP-dependent chromatin-remodelling complex SWI/SNF, is a cellular interaction partner of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) integrase. Ini1/hSNF5 is recruited to HIV-1 pre-integration complexes before nuclear migration, suggesting a function in the integration process itself or a contribution to the preferential selection of transcriptionally active genes as integration sites of HIV-1. More recent evidence indicates, however, that, whilst Ini1/hSNF5 is dispensable for HIV-1 transduction per se, it may have an inhibitory effect on the early steps of HIV-1 replication but facilitates proviral transcription by enhancing Tat function. These partially contradictory observations prompted an investigation of the immediate and long-term effects of Ini1/hSNF5 depletion on the basal transcriptional potential of the virus promoter. Using small interfering RNAs, it was shown that Ini1/hSNF5-containing SWI/SNF complexes mediate transcriptional repression of the basal activity of the integrated HIV-1 long terminal repeat. Transient depletion of Ini1/hSNF5 during integration was accompanied by an early boost of HIV-1 replication. After the reappearance of Ini1/hSNF5, expression levels decreased and this was associated with increased levels of histone methylation at the virus promoter in the long term, indicative of epigenetic gene silencing. These results demonstrate the opposing effects of Ini1/hSNF5-containing SWI/SNF complexes on basal and Tat-dependent transcriptional activity of the HIV-1 promoter. It is proposed that Ini1/hSNF5 may be recruited to the HIV-1 pre-integration complex to initiate, immediately after integration, one of two mutually exclusive transcription programmes, namely post-integration latency or high-level, Tat-dependent gene expression.