The Journal of general virology

Interplay between viral Tat protein and c-Jun transcription factor in controlling LTR promoter activity in different human immunodeficiency virus type I subtypes.

PMID 24447950


HIV-1 transcription depends on cellular transcription factors that bind to sequences in the long-terminal repeat (LTR) promoter. Each HIV-1 subtype has a specific LTR promoter configuration, and minor sequence changes in transcription factor binding sites (TFBSs) or their arrangement can influence transcriptional activity, virus replication and latency properties. Previously, we investigated the proviral latency properties of different HIV-1 subtypes in the SupT1 T cell line. Here, subtype-specific latency and replication properties were studied in primary PHA-activated T lymphocytes. No major differences in latency and replication capacity were measured among the HIV-1 subtypes. Subtype B and AE LTRs were studied in more detail with regard to a putative AP-1 binding site using luciferase reporter constructs. c-Jun, a member of the AP-1 transcription factor family, can activate both subtype B and AE LTRs, but the latter showed a stronger response, reflecting a closer match with the consensus AP-1 binding site. c-Jun overexpression enhanced Tat-mediated transcription of the viral LTR, but in the absence of Tat inhibited basal promoter activity. Thus, c-Jun can exert a positive or negative effect via the AP-1 binding site in the HIV-1 LTR promoter, depending on the presence or absence of Tat.