Anti-TAR polyamide nucleotide analog conjugated with a membrane-permeating peptide inhibits human immunodeficiency virus type 1 production.
ABSTRACT: The emergence of drug-resistant variants has posed a significant setback against effective antiviral treatment for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections. The choice of a nonmutable region of the viral genome such as the conserved transactivation response element (TAR element) in the 5' long terminal repeat (LTR) may potentially be an effective target for drug development. We have earlier demonstrated that a polyamide nucleotide analog (PNA) targeted to the TAR hairpin element, when transfected into cells, can effectively inhibit Tat-mediated transactivation of HIV type 1 (HIV-1) LTR (T. Mayhood et al., Biochemistry 39:11532-11539, 2000). Here we show that this anti-TAR PNA (PNA(TAR)), upon conjugation with a membrane-permeating peptide vector (transportan) retained its affinity for TAR in vitro similar to the unconjugated analog. The conjugate was efficiently internalized into the cells when added to the culture medium. Examination of the functional efficacy of the PNA(TAR)-transportan conjugate in cell culture using luciferase reporter gene constructs resulted in a significant inhibition of Tat-mediated transactivation of HIV-1 LTR. Furthermore, PNA(TAR)-transportan conjugate substantially inhibited HIV-1 production in chronically HIV-1-infected H9 cells. The mechanism of this inhibition appeared to be regulated at the level of transcription. These results demonstrate the efficacy of PNA(TAR)-transportan as a potential anti-HIV agent.
Project description:Human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) replication and gene expression entails specific interaction of the viral protein Tat with its transactivation responsive element (TAR), to form a highly stable stem-bulge-loop structure. Previously, we described triphenylphosphonium (TPP) cation-based vectors that efficiently deliver nucleotide analogs (PNAs) into the cytoplasm of cells. In particular, we showed that the TPP conjugate of a linear 16-mer PNA targeting the apical stem-loop region of TAR impedes Tat-mediated transactivation of the HIV-1 LTR in vitro and also in cell culture systems. In this communication, we conjugated TPP to cyclic and hairpin PNAs targeting the loop region of HIV-1 TAR and evaluated their antiviral efficacy in a cell culture system. We found that TPP-cyclic PNAs containing only 8 residues, showed higher antiviral potency compared to hairpin PNAs of 12 or 16 residues. We further noted that the TPP-conjugates of the 8-mer cyclic PNA as well as the 16-mer linear PNA displayed similar antiviral efficacy. However, cyclic PNAs were shown to be highly specific to their target sequences. This communication emphasizes on the importance of small constrained cyclic PNAs over both linear and hairpin structures for targeting biologically relevant RNA hairpins.
Project description:The 6-aminoglucosamine ring of the aminoglycoside antibiotic neomycin B (ring II) was conjugated to a 16-mer peptide nucleic acid (PNA) targeting HIV-1 TAR RNA. For this purpose, we prepared the aminoglucosamine monomer 15 and attached it to the protected PNA prior to its cleavage from the solid support. We found that the resulting PNA-aminoglucosamine conjugate is stable under acidic conditions, efficiently taken up by the human cells and fairly distributed in both cytosol and nucleus without endosomal entrapment because cotreatment with endosome-disrupting agent had no effect on its cellular distribution. The conjugate displayed very high target specificity in vitro and strongly inhibited Tat mediated transactivation of HIV-1 LTR transcription in a cell culture system. The unique properties of this new class of PNA conjugate suggest it to be a potential candidate for therapeutic application.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) Tat protein plays an essential role in HIV-1 gene transcription. Tat transactivates HIV-1 long terminal repeat (LTR)-directed gene expression through direct interactions with the transactivation-responsive region (TAR) element and other cis elements in the LTR. The TAR-independent Tat-mediated LTR transactivation is modulated by several host factors, but the mechanism is not fully understood.<h4>Results</h4>Here, we report that Tat interacts with the Rel homology domain of RelB through its core region. Furthermore, RelB significantly increases Tat-mediated transcription of the HIV-1 LTR and viral gene expression, which is independent of the TAR. Both Tat and RelB are recruited to the HIV-1 promoter, of which RelB facilitates the recruitment of Tat to the viral LTR. The NF-κB elements are key to the accumulation of Tat and RelB on the LTR. Knockout of RelB reduces the accumulation of RNA polymerase II on the LTR, and decreases HIV-1 gene transcription. Together, our data suggest that RelB contributes to HIV-1 transactivation.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Our results demonstrate that RelB interacts with Tat and enhances TAR-independent activation of HIV-1 LTR promoter, which adds new insights into the multi-layered mechanisms of Tat in regulating the gene expression of HIV-1.
Project description:Jembrana disease virus (JDV) is a bovine lentivirus genetically similar to bovine immunodeficiency virus; it causes an acute and sometimes fatal disease in infected animals. This virus carries a very potent Tat that can strongly activate not only its own long terminal repeat (LTR) but also the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) LTR. In contrast, HIV Tat cannot reciprocally activate the JDV LTR (H. Chen, G. E. Wilcox, G. Kertayadnya, and C. Wood, J. Virol. 73:658-666, 1999). This indicates that in transactivation JDV Tat may utilize a mechanism similar to but not the same as that of the HIV Tat. To further study the similarity of JDV and HIV tat in transactivation, we first tested the responses of a series of HIV LTR mutants to the JDV Tat. Cross-transactivation of HIV LTR by JDV Tat was impaired by mutations that disrupted the HIV type 1 transactivation response element (TAR) RNA stem-loop structure. Our results demonstrated that JDV Tat, like HIV Tat, transactivated the HIV LTR at least partially in a TAR-dependent manner. However, the sequence in the loop region of TAR was not as critical for the function of JDV Tat as it was for HIV Tat. The competitive inhibition of Tat-induced transactivation by the truncated JDV or HIV Tat, which consisted only of the activation domain, suggested that similar cellular factors were involved in both JDV and HIV Tat-induced transactivation. Based on the one-round transfection assay with HIV tat mutant proviruses, the cotransfected JDV tat plasmid can functionally complement the HIV tat defect. To further characterize the effect of JDV Tat on HIV, a stable chimeric HIV carrying the JDV tat gene was generated. This chimeric HIV replicated in a T-cell line, C8166, and in peripheral blood mononuclear cells, which suggested that JDV Tat can functionally substitute for HIV Tat. Further characterization of this chimeric virus will help to elucidate how JDV Tat functions and to explain the differences between HIV and JDV Tat transactivation.
Project description:The trans-activation response (TAR) RNA stem-loop that occurs at the 5' end of HIV RNA transcripts is an important antiviral target and is the site of interaction of the HIV-1 Tat protein together with host cellular factors. Oligonucleotides and their analogues targeted to TAR are potential antiviral candidates. We have investigated a range of cell penetrating peptide (CPP) conjugates of a 16mer peptide nucleic acid (PNA) analogue targeted to the apical stem-loop of TAR and show that disulfide-linked PNA conjugates of two types of CPP (Transportan or a novel chimeric peptide R6-Penetratin) exhibit dose-dependent inhibition of Tat-dependent trans-activation in a HeLa cell assay when incubated for 24 h. Activity is reached within 6 h if the lysosomotropic reagent chloroquine is co-administered. Fluorescein-labelled stably-linked conjugates of Tat, Transportan or Transportan TP10 with PNA were inactive when delivered alone, but attained trans-activation inhibition in the presence of chloroquine. Confocal microscopy showed that such fluorescently labelled CPP-PNA conjugates were sequestered in endosomal or membrane-bound compartments of HeLa cells, which varied in appearance depending on the CPP type. Co-administration of chloroquine was seen in some cases to release fluorescence from such compartments into the nucleus, but with different patterns depending on the CPP. The results show that CPP-PNA conjugates of different types can inhibit Tat-dependent trans-activation in HeLa cells and have potential for development as antiviral agents. Endosomal or membrane release is a major factor limiting nuclear delivery and trans-activation inhibition.
Project description:Tat is a critical regulatory factor in HIV-1 gene expression. It mediates the transactivation of transcription from the HIV-1 LTR by binding to the transactivation response (TAR) element in a complex with cyclin T1. Because of its critical and early role in HIV gene expression, Tat and its interaction with the TAR element constitute important therapeutic targets for the treatment of HIV-1 infection. Based on the known nucleolar localization properties of Tat, we constructed a chimeric small nucleolar RNA-TAR decoy that localizes to the nucleoli of human cells and colocalizes in the nucleolus with a Tat-enhanced GFP fusion protein. When the chimeric RNA was stably expressed in human T lymphoblastoid CEM cells it potently inhibited HIV-1 replication. These results demonstrate that the nucleolar trafficking of Tat is critical for HIV-1 replication and suggests a role for the nucleolus in HIV-1 viral replication.
Project description:Transcription from the HIV-1 LTR promoter efficiently initiates but rapidly terminates because of a non-processive form of RNA polymerase II. This premature termination is overcome by assembly of an HIV-1 TAT/P-TEFb complex at the transactivation response region (TAR), a structured RNA element encoded by the first 59 nt of HIV-1 mRNA. Here we have identified a conserved DNA-binding element for the cellular transcription factor, ZASC1, in the HIV-1 core promoter immediately upstream of TAR. We show that ZASC1 interacts with TAT and P-TEFb, co-operating with TAT to regulate HIV-1 gene expression, and promoting HIV-1 transcriptional elongation. The importance of ZASC1 to HIV-1 transcription elongation was confirmed through mutagenesis of the ZASC1 binding sites in the LTR promoter, shRNAs targeting ZASC1 and expression of dominant negative ZASC1. Chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis revealed that ZASC1 recruits Tat and P-TEFb to the HIV-1 core promoter in a TAR-independent manner. Thus, we have identified ZASC1 as novel regulator of HIV-1 gene expression that functions through the DNA-dependent, RNA-independent recruitment of TAT/P-TEFb to the HIV-1 promoter.
Project description:Jembrana disease virus (JDV) is a newly identified bovine lentivirus that is closely related to the bovine immunodeficiency virus (BIV). JDV contains a tat gene, encoded by two exons, which has potent transactivation activity. Cotransfection of the JDV tat expression plasmid with the JDV promoter chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) construct pJDV-U3R resulted in a substantial increase in the level of CAT mRNA transcribed from the JDV long terminal repeat (LTR) and a dramatic increase in the CAT protein level. Deletion analysis of the LTR sequences showed that sequences spanning nucleotides -68 to +53, including the TATA box and the predicted first stem-loop structure of the predicted Tat response element (TAR), were required for efficient transactivation. The results, derived from site-directed mutagenesis experiments, suggested that the base pairing in the stem of the first stem-loop structure in the TAR region was important for JDV Tat-mediated transactivation; in contrast, nucleotide substitutions in the loop region of JDV TAR had less effect. For the JDV LTR, upstream sequences, from nucleotide -196 and beyond, as well as the predicted secondary structures in the R region, may have a negative effect on basal JDV promoter activity. Deletion of these regions resulted in a four- to fivefold increase in basal expression. The JDV Tat is also a potent transactivator of other animal and primate lentivirus promoters. It transactivated BIV and human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) LTRs to levels similar to those with their homologous Tat proteins. In contrast, HIV-1 Tat has minimal effects on JDV LTR expression, whereas BIV Tat moderately transactivated the JDV LTR. Our study suggests that JDV may use a mechanism of transactivation similar but not identical to those of other animal and primate lentiviruses.
Project description:Oligonucleotides composed of 2'-O-methyl and locked nucleic acid residues complementary to HIV-1 trans-activation responsive element TAR block Tat-dependent trans-activation in a HeLa cell assay when delivered by cationic lipids. We describe an improved procedure for synthesis and purification under highly denaturing conditions of 5'-disulphide-linked conjugates of 3'-fluorescein labelled oligonucleotides with a range of cell-penetrating peptides and investigate their abilities to enter HeLa cells and block trans-activation. Free uptake of 12mer OMe/LNA oligonucleotide conjugates to Tat (48-58), Penetratin and R9F2 was observed in cytosolic compartments of HeLa cells. Uptake of the Tat conjugate was enhanced by N-terminal addition of four Lys or Arg residues or a second Tat peptide. None of the conjugates entered the nucleus or inhibited trans-activation when freely delivered, but inhibition was obtained in the presence of cationic lipids. Nuclear exclusion was seen for free delivery of Tat (48-58), Penetratin and R9 conjugates of 16mer phosphorothioate OMe oligonucleotide. Uptake into human fibroblast cytosolic compartments was seen for Tat, Penetratin, R9F2 and Transportan conjugates. Large enhancements of HeLa cell uptake into cytosolic compartments were seen when free Tat peptide was added to Tat conjugate of 12mer OMe/LNA oligonucleotide or Penetratin peptide to Penetratin conjugate of the same oligonucleotide.
Project description:The human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) Tat protein (hTat) activates transcription initiated at the viral long terminal repeat (LTR) promoter by a unique mechanism requiring recruitment of the human cyclin T1 (hCycT1) cofactor to the viral TAR RNA target element. While activation of equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV) gene expression by the EIAV Tat (eTat) protein appears similar in that the target element is a promoter proximal RNA, eTat shows little sequence homology to hTat, does not activate the HIV-1 LTR, and is not active in human cells that effectively support hTat function. To address whether eTat and hTat utilize similar or distinct mechanisms of action, we have cloned the equine homolog of hCycT1 (eCycT1) and examined whether it is required to mediate eTat function. Here, we report that expression of eCycT1 in human cells fully rescues eTat function and that eCycT1 and eTat form a protein complex that specifically binds to the EIAV, but not the HIV-1, TAR element. While hCycT1 is also shown to interact with eTat, the lack of eTat function in human cells is explained by the failure of the resultant protein complex to bind to EIAV TAR. Critical sequences in eCycT1 required to support eTat function are located very close to the amino terminus, i.e., distal to the HIV-1 Tat-TAR interaction motif previously identified in the hCycT1 protein. Together, these data provide a molecular explanation for the species tropism displayed by eTat and demonstrate that highly divergent lentiviral Tat proteins activate transcription from their cognate LTR promoters by essentially identical mechanisms.