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J Virol. Dec 1989; 63(12): 5501–5504.
PMCID: PMC251225

trans activation of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 is sequence specific for both the single-stranded bulge and loop of the trans-acting-responsive hairpin: a quantitative analysis.


We have used site-directed mutagenesis to delineate sequence specific domains within the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) trans-acting-responsive (TAR) RNA element that are required for trans activation by the viral Tat protein. Our data in part corroborate a recent report [S. Feng and E. C. Holland, Nature (London) 334:165-167, 1988] that five nucleotides within the loop (+29 to +33) of the TAR hairpin are important for trans activation. We, however, found no absolute requirement for the CUGGG loop sequence. Mutants with substitutions within the loop retained between 9 and 50% activity compared with the wild type. A second sequence, important for trans activation, was found in the 3-base bulge loop (+22 to +24) of the TAR hairpin. Cross-trans-activation studies of mutant HIV-1 TAR elements with the HIV-2 Tat protein suggest that a similar recognition event(s) forms the basis for trans activation of HIV-1 and HIV-2.

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Selected References

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