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J Biol Chem. 1996 Aug 23;271(34):20820-7.

An NF-kappaB site in the 5'-untranslated leader region of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 enhances the viral expression in response to NF-kappaB-activating stimuli.

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Dipartimento di Biochimica e Biotecnologie Mediche, Università degli Studi Federico II di Napoli, 80131 Naples.


The 5'-untranslated leader region of human immunodeficiency virus, type 1 (HIV-1), includes a complex array of putative regulatory elements whose role in the viral expression is not completely understood. Here we demonstrate the presence of an NF-kappaB-responsive element in the trans-activation response (TAR) region of HIV-1 that confers the full induction of HIV-1 long terminal repeat (LTR) in response to NF-kappaB-activating stimuli, such as DNA alkylating agents, phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha. The TAR NF-kappaB site GGGAGCTCTC spans from positions +31 to +40 and cooperates with the NF-kappaB enhancer upstream of the TATA box in the NF-kappaB-mediated induction of HIV-1 LTR. The conclusion stems from the following observations: (i) deletion of the two NF-kappaB sites upstream of the TATA box reduces, but does not abolish, the HIV-1 LTR activation by NF-kappaB inducers; (ii) deletion or base pair substitutions of the TAR NF-kappaB site significantly reduce the HIV-1 LTR activation by NF-kappaB inducers; (iii) deletions of both the NF-kappaB sites upstream of the TATA box and the TAR NF-kappaB site abolish the activation of HIV-1 LTR in response to NF-kappaB inducers. Moreover, the p50 p65 NF-kappaB complex binds to the TAR NF-kappaB sequence and trans-activates the TAR NF-kappaB-directed expression. The identification of an additional NF-kappaB site in the HIV-1 LTR points to the relevance of NF-kappaB factors in the HIV-1 life cycle.

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