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Virology. 1994 May 15;201(1):95-106.

Transcriptional activation of minimal HIV-1 promoter by ORF-1 protein expressed from the SalI-L fragment of human herpesvirus 6.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC 20007.


The SalI-L fragment of human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) strain U1102 transformed rodent cells and transactivated the HIV-1 LTR 10- to 15-fold in both monkey fibroblasts and human T-lymphocytes. In this report, the SalI-L transactivator of the HIV-1 LTR was localized to ORF-1 which codes for a protein of 357 amino acids. To determine if ORF-1 required functional Sp1 binding sites or the TATA box element of HIV-1 LTR for transactivation, 5'-deletion mutants of the HIV-1 LTR were employed. Plasmids pBS/SalI-L, pBS/SalI-L-SH, and pC6/ORF-1(S), a mammalian expression vector containing ORF-1, all transactivated a deletion mutant of HIV-1 LTR lacking functional Sp1 binding sites (CD-54). These studies demonstrate that transactivation occurred in the absence of Sp1 binding sites and required only a minimal HIV-1 promoter which contains the TATA box element. The specificity of the SalI-L transactivator for HIV-1 LTR was demonstrated by its inability to transactivate the human papillomavirus type 16 or 18 early promoters. The ORF-1 gene was cloned into and expressed from the pET17b bacterial expression vector. Purified ORF-1 protein was obtained by ammonium sulfate precipitation, Mono-S chromatography, and anti-T7. Tag immunoaffinity chromatography. Transactivation of the HIV-1 LTR by ORF-1 protein was demonstrated by electroporation studies in vivo and by transcription studies in vitro. To substantiate the putative biological role of ORF-1, pBS/SalI-L, pBS/SalI-L-SH, and pC6/ORF-1 all reactivated tat-defective HIV-1 provirus from latently infected cells expressing CD4. Thus, the data presented suggest that HHV-6 infection could have a cofactor role in the progression of AIDS.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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