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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Transactivation of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 long terminal repeat-directed gene expression by the human foamy virus bel1 protein requires a specific DNA sequence.

Human foamy virus (HFV) encodes the transcriptional transactivator bel1. The bel1 protein transactivates HFV long terminal repeat (LTR)-directed gene expression by recognizing a region in U3. It also transactivates human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) LTR-directed gene expression in transient transfection assays. To identify the specific region in HIV-1 LTR responsible for bel1 action, we examined the effect of bel1 on chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) gene expression in transfected cells with a series of mutant HIV-1 LTR/CAT plasmids. The region between -158 and -118 from the transcription initiation site, immediately upstream of the core enhancer element, was identified as responsible for the transactivation by bel1. In addition, bel1 transactivated a heterologous promoter when this region was positioned upstream of it in the sense and antisense orientations. Optimal transactivation of the HIV-1 LTR by bel1 did not require an intact TAR sequence, suggesting that the binding of tat to the TAR sequence is not a prerequisite for bel1 function in HIV-1 LTR-directed gene expression. In the region of the HIV-1 LTR that is necessary for the bel1-mediated transactivation, we have found a sequence which is conserved between HIV-1 and HFV. Our results suggest that the bel1 action on HIV-1 seems to be mediated by a specific DNA sequence which is shared by both the HIV-1 LTR and HFV LTR.[1]


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