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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1998 Apr 28;95(9):5281-6.

HIV transcriptional activation by the accessory protein, VPR, is mediated by the p300 co-activator.

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  • 1Departments of Internal Medicine and Biological Chemistry, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-0650, USA.


The accessory protein, Vpr, is a virion-associated protein that is required for HIV-1 replication in macrophages and regulates viral gene expression in T cells. Vpr causes arrest of cell cycle progression at G2/M, presumably through its effect on cyclin B1.Cdc2 activity. Here, we show that the ability of Vpr to activate HIV transcription correlates with its ability to induce G2/M growth arrest, and this effect is mediated by the p300 transcriptional co-activator, which promotes cooperative interactions between the Rel A subunit of NF-kappaB and cyclin B1.Cdc2. Vpr cooperates with p300, which regulates NF-kappaB and the basal transcriptional machinery, to increase HIV gene expression. Similar effects are seen in the absence of Vpr with a kinase-deficient Cdc2, and overexpression of p300 increases levels of HIV Vpr+ replication. Taken together, these data suggest that p300, through its interactions with NF-kappaB, basal transcriptional components, and Cdks, is modulated by Vpr and regulates HIV replication. The regulation of p300 by Vpr provides a mechanism to enhance viral replication in proliferating cells after growth arrest by increasing viral transcription.

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