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Virus Res. 1996 Dec;45(2):87-92.

Hepatitis C virus core protein inhibits human immunodeficiency virus type 1 replication.

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Division of Infectious Diseases, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN 38105, USA.


We previously demonstrated that hepatitis C virus (HCV) core protein is a strong repressor of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) long terminal repeat (LTR) basal transcription. In this study, we have localized the HCV core protein-response domain to a region between nucleotides -65 and +3 within the HIV-LTR. Thus, neither the upstream negative regulatory elements, or binding sites for various transcription factors (e.g. NF-kappa B, USF-1, IL2/IL-2R) nor the downstream TAR regions were involved in HCV core-mediated repression. HCV core protein mediated repression of the basal transcriptional activity of HIV-1 LTR was abrogated by the Tat protein. Furthermore, HeLa-T4 cells expressing HCV core protein showed inhibition of HIV-1 replication after acute infection with cell-free HIV. A similar observation was also noted in CD4+ and CD4-lymphocytic cell lines cotransfected with an infectious molecular clone of HIV-1 and the HCV core protein expression vector. Thus, a repression of basal transcription prior to the accumulation of threshold levels of Tat protein appears to restrict HIV-1 transcription and modulate viral replication.

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