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J Mol Biol. 1999 Jul 30;290(5):929-41.

Direct evidence that HIV-1 Tat stimulates RNA polymerase II carboxyl-terminal domain hyperphosphorylation during transcriptional elongation.

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  • 1Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 2QH, UK.

Abstract

The human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1) Tat protein regulates transcription by stimulating RNA polymerase processivity. Using immobilised templates, we have been able to study the effects of Tat on protein kinase activity during the pre-initiation and elongation stages of HIV-1 transcription. In pre-initiation complexes formed at the HIV-1 LTR, the C-terminal domain (CTD) of RNA polymerase II is rapidly phosphorylated by transcription factor IIH (TFIIH). Addition of Tat does not affect either the rate or the extent of CTD phosphorylation in the pre-initiation complexes. By contrast, Tat is able to stimulate additional CTD phosphorylation in elongation complexes. This reaction creates a novel form of the RNA polymerase that we have called RNA polymerase IIo*. Formation of the RNA polymerase IIo* occurs only after transcription of templates carrying a functional TAR RNA element and is strongly inhibited by low concentrations of 5,6-dichloro-1-beta- D -ribofuranosyl benzimidazole (DRB), a potent inhibitor of CDK9, the protein kinase subunit of the Tat-associated kinase (TAK). Immunoblotting experiments have shown that CDK9 and its associated cyclin, cyclin T1, are present at equivalent levels in both the pre-initiation and elongation complexes. We conclude that activation of the CDK9 kinase, leading to CTD phosphorylation, occurs only in elongation complexes that have transcribed through the Tat-recognition element, TAR RNA.

Copyright 1999 Academic Press.

PMID:
10438593
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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