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J Virol. 1998 Oct;72(10):8446-52.

Dysregulation through the NF-kappaB enhancer and TATA box of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 subtype E promoter.

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Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


The global diversity of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) genotypes, termed subtypes A to J, is considerable and growing. However, relatively few studies have provided evidence for an associated phenotypic divergence. Recently, we demonstrated subtype-specific functional differences within the long terminal repeat (LTR) region of expanding subtypes (M. A. Montano, V. A. Novitsky, J. T. Blackard, N. L. Cho, D. A. Katzenstein, and M. Essex, J. Virol. 71:8657-8665, 1997). Notably, all HIV-1E isolates were observed to contain a defective upstream NF-kappaB site and a unique TATA-TAR region. In this study, we demonstrate that tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) stimulation of the HIV-1E LTR was also impaired, consistent with a defective upstream NF-kappaB site. Furthermore, repair of the upstream NF-kappaB site within HIV-1E partially restored TNF-alpha responsiveness. We also show, in gel shift assays, that oligonucleotides spanning the HIV-1E TATA box displayed a reduced efficiency in the assembly of the TBP-TFIIB-TATA complex, relative to an HIV-1B TATA oligonucleotide. In transfection assays, the HIV-1E TATA, when changed to the canonical HIV-1B TATA sequence (ATAAAA-->ATATAA) unexpectedly reduces both heterologous HIV-1B Tat and cognate HIV-1E Tat activation of an HIV-1E LTR-driven reporter gene. However, Tat activation, irrespective of subtype, could be rescued by introducing a cognate HIV-1B TAR. Collectively, these observations suggest that the expanding HIV-1E genotype has likely evolved an alternative promoter configuration with altered NF-kappaB and TATA regulatory signals in contradistinction with HIV-1B.

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