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(1/1333) High level inhibition of HIV replication with combination RNA decoys expressed from an HIV-Tat inducible vector.

Intracellular immunization, an antiviral gene therapy approach based on the introduction of DNA into cells to stably express molecules for the inhibition of viral gene expression and replication, has been suggested for inhibition of HIV infection. Since the Tat and Rev proteins play a critical role in HIV regulation, RNA decoys and ribozymes of these sequences have potential as therapeutic molecular inhibitors. In the present study, we have generated several anti-HIV molecules; a tat-ribozyme, RRE, RWZ6 and TAR decoys and combinations of decoys, and tested them for inhibition of HIV-1 replication in vitro. We used T cell specific CD2 gene elements and regulatory the HIV inducible promoter to direct high level expression and a 3' UTR sequence for mRNA stabilization. We show that HIV replication was most strongly inhibited with the combination TAR + RRE decoy when compared with the single decoys or the tat-ribozyme. We also show that the Tat-inducible HIV promoter directs a higher level of steady-state transcription of decoys and inhibitors and that higher levels of expression directly relate to increased levels of inhibition of HIV infection. Furthermore, a stabilization of the 3' end of TAR + RRE inhibitor transcripts using a beta-globin 3' UTR sequence leads to an additional 15-fold increase in steady-state RNA levels. This cassette when used to express the best combination decoy inhibitor TAR + RRE, yields high level HIV inhibition for greater than 3 weeks. Taken together, both optimization for high level expression of molecular inhibitors and use of combinations of inhibitors suggest better therapeutic application in limiting the spread of HIV.  (+info)

(2/1333) Interactions between Tat and TAR and human immunodeficiency virus replication are facilitated by human cyclin T1 but not cyclins T2a or T2b.

The transcriptional transactivator (Tat) from the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) does not function efficiently in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells. Only somatic cell hybrids between CHO and human cells and CHO cells containing human chromosome 12 (CHO12) support high levels of Tat transactivation. This restriction was mapped to interactions between Tat and TAR. Recently, human cyclin T1 was found to increase the binding of Tat to TAR and levels of Tat transactivation in rodent cells. By combining individually with CDK9, cyclin T1 or related cyclins T2a and T2b form distinct positive transcription elongation factor b (P-TEFb) complexes. In this report, we found that of these three cyclins, only cyclin T1 is encoded on human chromosome 12 and is responsible for its effects in CHO cells. Moreover, only human cyclin T1, not mouse cyclin T1 or human cyclins T2a or T2b, supported interactions between Tat and TAR in vitro. Finally, after introducing appropriate receptors and human cyclin T1 into CHO cells, they became permissive for infection by and replication of HIV.  (+info)

(3/1333) Stimulation of Tat-associated kinase-independent transcriptional elongation from the human immunodeficiency virus type-1 long terminal repeat by a cellular enhancer.

The human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1) long terminal repeat (LTR) initiates transcription efficiently but produces only short transcripts in the absence of the trans-activator protein, Tat. To determine whether a cellular enhancer could provide the signals required to recruit an elongation-competent polymerase to the HIV-1 LTR, the B cell-specific immunoglobulin heavy chain gene enhancer (IgHE) was inserted upstream of the LTR. The enhancer increased transcription in the absence of Tat between 6- and 7-fold in transfected B cells, but the full-length transcripts remained at basal levels in HeLa cells, where the enhancer is inactive. RNase-protection studies showed that initiation levels in the presence and absence of the enhancer were constant, but the enhancer significantly increased the elongation capacity of the polymerases. Tat-stimulated elongation is strongly inhibited by the nucleoside analogue 5,6-dichloro-1-beta-D-ribofuranosylbenzimidazole (DRB), which inhibits the Tat-associated kinase, TAK (CDK9). However, polymerases initiating transcription from LTRs carrying the enhancer were able to efficiently elongate in the presence of DRB. Specific repression of TAK by expression in trans of the CDK9 kinase also inhibited Tat-stimulated elongation but did not inhibit enhancer-dependent transcription significantly. Thus, the activation of polymerase processivity by the IgHE involves a unique mechanism which is independent of TAK.  (+info)

(4/1333) Human immunodeficiency virus replication induces monocyte chemotactic protein-1 in human macrophages and U937 promonocytic cells.

We have recently described a significant correlation between human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) RNA replication and monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (MCP-1) levels in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of individuals with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) with HIV encephalitis (E). Because local macrophages (microglia) are the cells predominantly infected in the brain, we investigated whether in vitro HIV infection affects MCP-1 production in mononuclear phagocytes (MP). MCP-1 secretion and expression were consinstently upregulated over constitutive levels in human monocyte-derived macrophages (MDM) infected with the M-tropic R5 BaL strain of HIV-1. HIV replication was required for this effect, as demonstrated by the absence of chemokine upregulation after infection in the presence of 3'-azido-3'-deoxythimidine (AZT) or cell-exposure to heat-inactivated (triangle up degrees ) virus. MCP-1 induction was not restricted to HIV-1 BaL, but was also observed during productive infection of MDM with two primary isolates differing for entry coreceptor usage and of U937 cells with the X4 HIV-1 MN strain. Based on the observation that exogenous HIV-1 Tat induced MCP-1 expression in astrocytes, we also investigated its role in MDM and U937 cells. Exogenous Tat induced MCP-1 production from MDM in a concentration-dependent manner, however, it was not effective on uninfected U937 cells or on the chronically infected U937-derived cell line U1. Transfection of Tat-expressing plasmids moderately activated HIV expression in U1 cells, but failed to induce MCP-1 expression in this cell line or in uninfected U937 cells. HIV replication-dependent expression of MCP-1 in MP may be of particular relevance for the pathogenesis of HIV infection in nonlymphoid organs such as the brain.  (+info)

(5/1333) Intercellular traffic of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 transactivator protein defined by monoclonal antibodies.

Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) directed against the amino-terminal region (N-terminal sequence 2-19) of transactivator protein (tat) of HIV-1 have been shown to inhibit intercellular transactivation mediated by the extracellular tat protein. The intracellular transactivation was not significantly affected by anti-tat mAbs. The specificity of anti-tat mAbs in abolishing the transactivating potential of extracellular tat is documented by studies with mAbs to HIV-1 reverse transcriptase, or to a human mammary cancer protein. None of these antibodies showed any inhibitory effect on intercellular transactivation. Specific interaction of anti-tat IgG with tat protein expressed in Jurkat cells is further supported by experiments on immunoblotting. Extracellular tat is responsible for signals which induce a variety of biological responses in HIV-infected cells, as well as in uninfected cells. The fact that anti-tat mAbs can abolish the intercellular traffic of tat protein offers a unique strategy in the development of vaccines against AIDS.  (+info)

(6/1333) Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 Tat-dependent activation of an arrested RNA polymerase II elongation complex.

The human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) Tat protein is a transcriptional activator that is essential for efficient viral gene expression and replication. Tat increases the level of full-length transcripts from the HIV-1 promoter by dramatically enhancing the elongation efficiency of the RNA polymerase II complexes assembled on this promoter. Tat could potentially activate the transcription machinery during initiation, elongation, or both. We used an immobilized HIV-1 promoter template with a reversible lac repressor (LacR) elongation block inserted downstream to dissect the stages in transcription affected by Tat. Transcription complexes assembled in the absence of Tat and blocked by LacR cannot be activated by incubation with Tat alone. These complexes can, however, be activated if Tat is added in combination with cellular factors. In this system, Tat also promoted the assembly of preinitiation complexes capable of elongating efficiently, suggesting that Tat can associate with transcription complex at an early stage. These data indicate that Tat can activate elongation of RNA polymerase by modifying an already elongating transcription complex. The data also suggest the possibility that Tat can interact with initiation complexes.  (+info)

(7/1333) A second-site mutation that restores replication of a Tat-defective human immunodeficiency virus.

We previously constructed a large set of mutants of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) regulatory protein Tat with conservative amino acid substitutions in the activation domain. These Tat variants were analyzed in the context of the infectious virus, and several mutants were found to be defective for replication. In an attempt to obtain second-site suppressor mutations that could provide information on the Tat protein structure, some of the replication-impaired viruses were used as a parent for the isolation of revertant viruses with improved replication capacity. Sequence analysis of revertant viruses frequently revealed changes within the tat gene, most often first-site reversions either to the wild-type amino acid or to related amino acids that restore, at least partially, the Tat function and virus replication. Of 30 revertant cultures, we identified only one second-site suppressor mutation. The inactive Y26A mutant yielded the second-site suppressor mutation Y47N that partially restored trans-activation activity and virus replication. Surprisingly, when the suppressor mutation was introduced in the wild-type Tat background, it also improved the trans-activation function of this protein about twofold. We conclude that the gain of function measured for the Y47N change is not specific for the Y26A mutant, arguing against a direct interaction of Tat amino acids 26 and 47 in the three-dimensional fold of this protein. Other revertant viruses did not contain any additional Tat changes, and some viruses revealed putative second-site Tat mutations that did not significantly improve Tat function and virus replication. We reason that these mutations were introduced by chance through founder effects or by linkage to suppressor mutations elsewhere in the virus genome. In conclusion, the forced evolution of mutant HIV-1 genomes, which is an efficient approach for the analysis of RNA regulatory motifs, seems less suited for the analysis of the structure of this small transcription factor, although protein variants with interesting properties can be generated.  (+info)

(8/1333) Specific interaction of Tat with the human but not rodent P-TEFb complex mediates the species-specific Tat activation of HIV-1 transcription.

Tat stimulation of HIV-1 transcriptional elongation is species-specific and is believed to require a specific cellular cofactor present in many human and primate cells but not in nonpermissive rodent cells. Human P-TEFb, composed of Cdk9 and cyclin T1, is a general transcription elongation factor that phosphorylates the C-terminal domain of RNA polymerase II. Previous studies have also implicated P-TEFb as a Tat-specific cellular cofactor and, in particular, human cyclin T1 as responsible for the species-specific Tat activation. To obtain functional evidence in support of these hypotheses, we generated and examined the activities of human-rodent "hybrid" P-TEFb complexes. We found that P-TEFb complexes containing human cyclin T1 complexed with either human or rodent Cdk9 supported Tat transactivation and interacted with the Tat activation domain and the HIV-1 TAR RNA element to form TAR loop-dependent ribonucleoprotein complexes. Although a stable complex containing rodent cyclin T1 and human Cdk9 was capable of phosphorylating CTD and mediating basal HIV-1 elongation, it failed to interact with Tat and to mediate Tat transactivation, indicating that the abilities of P-TEFb to support basal elongation and Tat activation can be separated. Together, our data indicated that the specific interaction of human P-TEFb with Tat/TAR, mostly through cyclin T1, is crucial for P-TEFb to mediate a Tat-specific and species-restricted activation of HIV-1 transcription. Amino acid residues unique to human Cdk9 also contributed partially to the formation of the P-TEFb-Tat-TAR complex. Moreover, the cyclin box of cyclin T1 and its immediate flanking region are largely responsible for the specific P-TEFb-Tat interaction.  (+info)