The Cellular lysine methyltransferase Set7/9-KMT7 binds HIV-1 TAR RNA, monomethylates the viral transactivator Tat, and enhances HIV transcription.
ABSTRACT: The Tat protein of HIV-1 plays an essential role in HIV gene expression by promoting efficient elongation of viral transcripts. Posttranslational modifications of Tat fine-tune interactions of Tat with cellular cofactors and TAR RNA, a stem-loop structure at the 5' ends of viral transcripts. Here, we identify the lysine methyltransferase Set7/9 (KMT7) as a coactivator of HIV transcription. Set7/9-KMT7 associates with the HIV promoter in vivo and monomethylates lysine 51, a highly conserved residue located in the RNA-binding domain of Tat. Knockdown of Set7/9-KMT7 suppresses Tat transactivation of the HIV promoter, but does not affect the transcriptional activity of methylation-deficient Tat (K51A). Set7/9-KMT7 binds TAR RNA by itself and in complex with Tat and the positive transcription elongation factor P-TEFb. Our findings uncover a positive role for Set7/9-KMT7 and Tat methylation during early steps of the Tat transactivation cycle.
Project description:The HIV-1 transactivator protein Tat is a critical regulator of HIV transcription primarily enabling efficient elongation of viral transcripts. Its interactions with RNA and various host factors are regulated by ordered, transient post-translational modifications. Here, we report a novel Tat modification, monomethylation at lysine 71 (K71). We found that Lys-71 monomethylation (K71me) is catalyzed by KMT7, a methyltransferase that also targets lysine 51 (K51) in Tat. Using mass spectrometry, in vitro enzymology, and modification-specific antibodies, we found that KMT7 monomethylates both Lys-71 and Lys-51 in Tat. K71me is important for full Tat transactivation, as KMT7 knockdown impaired the transcriptional activity of wild type (WT) Tat but not a Tat K71R mutant. These findings underscore the role of KMT7 as an important monomethyltransferase regulating HIV transcription through Tat.
Project description:The essential transactivator function of the HIV Tat protein is regulated by multiple posttranslational modifications. Although individual modifications are well characterized, their crosstalk and dynamics of occurrence during the HIV transcription cycle remain unclear.We examine interactions between two critical modifications within the RNA-binding domain of Tat: monomethylation of lysine 51 (K51) mediated by Set7/9/KMT7, an early event in the Tat transactivation cycle that strengthens the interaction of Tat with TAR RNA, and acetylation of lysine 50 (K50) mediated by p300/KAT3B, a later process that dissociates the complex formed by Tat, TAR RNA and the cyclin T1 subunit of the positive transcription elongation factor b (P-TEFb). We find K51 monomethylation inhibited in synthetic Tat peptides carrying an acetyl group at K50 while acetylation can occur in methylated peptides, albeit at a reduced rate. To examine whether Tat is subject to sequential monomethylation and acetylation in cells, we performed mass spectrometry on immunoprecipitated Tat proteins and generated new modification-specific Tat antibodies against monomethylated/acetylated Tat. No bimodified Tat protein was detected in cells pointing to a demethylation step during the Tat transactivation cycle. We identify lysine-specific demethylase 1 (LSD1/KDM1) as a Tat K51-specific demethylase, which is required for the activation of HIV transcription in latently infected T cells. LSD1/KDM1 and its cofactor CoREST associates with the HIV promoter in vivo and activate Tat transcriptional activity in a K51-dependent manner. In addition, small hairpin RNAs directed against LSD1/KDM1 or inhibition of its activity with the monoamine oxidase inhibitor phenelzine suppresses the activation of HIV transcription in latently infected T cells.Our data support the model that a LSD1/KDM1/CoREST complex, normally known as a transcriptional suppressor, acts as a novel activator of HIV transcription through demethylation of K51 in Tat. Small molecule inhibitors of LSD1/KDM1 show therapeutic promise by enforcing HIV latency in infected T cells.
Project description:The transcriptional transactivator Tat from HIV binds to the transactivation response element (TAR) RNA to increase rates of elongation of viral transcription. Human cyclin T supports these interactions between Tat and TAR. In this study, we report the sequence of mouse cyclin T and identify the residues from positions 1 to 281 in human cyclin T that bind to Tat and TAR. Mouse cyclin T binds to Tat weakly and is unable to facilitate interactions between Tat and TAR. Reciprocal exchanges of the cysteine and tyrosine at position 261 in human and mouse cyclin T proteins also render human cyclin T inactive and mouse cyclin T active. These findings reveal the molecular basis for the restriction of Tat transactivation in rodent cells.
Project description:The human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV) Tat protein, a potent activator of HIV gene expression, is essential for integrated viral genome expression and represents a potential antiviral target. Tat binds the 5'-terminal region of HIV mRNA's stem-bulge-loop structure, the transactivation-responsive (TAR) element, to activate transcription. We find that didehydro-Cortistatin A (dCA), an analog of a natural steroidal alkaloid from a marine sponge, inhibits Tat-mediated transactivation of the integrated provirus by binding specifically to the TAR-binding domain of Tat. Working at subnanomolar concentrations, dCA reduces Tat-mediated transcriptional initiation/elongation from the viral promoter to inhibit HIV-1 and HIV-2 replication in acutely and chronically infected cells. Importantly, dCA abrogates spontaneous viral particle release from CD4(+)T cells from virally suppressed subjects on highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). Thus, dCA defines a unique class of anti-HIV drugs that may inhibit viral production from stable reservoirs and reduce residual viremia during HAART.
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:The elongation of transcription is a highly regulated process that requires negative and positive effectors. By binding the double-stranded stem in the transactivation response (TAR) element, RD protein from the negative transcription elongation factor (NELF) inhibits basal transcription from the long terminal repeat of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIVLTR). Tat and its cellular cofactor, the positive transcription elongation factor b (P-TEFb), overcome this negative effect. Cdk9 in P-TEFb also phosphorylates RD at sites next to its RNA recognition motif. A mutant RD protein that mimics its phosphorylated form no longer binds TAR nor represses HIV transcription. In sharp contrast, a mutant RD protein that cannot be phosphorylated by P-TEFb functions as a dominant-negative effector and inhibits Tat transactivation. These results better define the transition from abortive to productive transcription and thus replication of HIV.
Project description:Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) Tat interacts with cyclin T1 (CycT1), a regulatory partner of CDK9 in the positive transcription elongation factor (P-TEFb) complex, and binds cooperatively with CycT1 to TAR RNA to recruit P-TEFb and promote transcription elongation. We show here that Tat also stimulates phosphorylation of affinity-purified core RNA polymerase II and glutathione S-transferase-C-terminal-domain substrates by CycT1-CDK9, but not CycH-CDK7, in vitro. Interestingly, incubation of recombinant Tat-P-TEFb complexes with ATP enhanced binding to TAR RNA dramatically, and the C-terminal half of CycT1 masked binding of Tat to TAR RNA in the absence of ATP. ATP incubation lead to autophosphorylation of CDK9 at multiple C-terminal Ser and Thr residues, and full-length CycT1 (amino acids 728) [CycT1(1-728)], but not truncated CycT1(1-303), was also phosphorylated by CDK9. P-TEFb complexes containing a catalytically inactive CDK9 mutant (D167N) bound TAR RNA weakly and independently of ATP, as did a C-terminal truncated CDK9 mutant that was catalytically active but unable to undergo autophosphorylation. Analysis of different Tat proteins revealed that the 101-amino-acid SF2 HIV-1 Tat was unable to bind TAR with CycT1(1-303) in the absence of phosphorylated CDK9, whereas unphosphorylated CDK9 strongly blocked binding of HIV-2 Tat to TAR RNA in a manner that was reversed upon autophosphorylation. Replacement of CDK9 phosphorylation sites with negatively charged residues restored binding of CycT1(1-303)-D167N-Tat, and rendered D167N a more potent inhibitor of transcription in vitro. Taken together, these results demonstrate that CDK9 phosphorylation is required for high-affinity binding of Tat-P-TEFb to TAR RNA and that the state of P-TEFb phosphorylation may regulate Tat transactivation in vivo.
Project description:Small molecules and short peptides that potently and selectively bind RNA are rare, making the molecular structures of these complexes highly exceptional. Accordingly, several recent investigations have provided unprecedented structural insights into how peptides and proteins recognize the HIV-1 transactivation response (TAR) element, a 59-nucleotide-long, noncoding RNA segment in the 5' long terminal repeat region of viral transcripts. Here, we offer an integrated perspective on these advances by describing earlier progress on TAR binding to small molecules, and by drawing parallels to recent successes in the identification of compounds that target the hepatitis C virus internal ribosome entry site (IRES) and the flavin-mononucleotide riboswitch. We relate this work to recent progress that pinpoints specific determinants of TAR recognition by: (i) viral Tat proteins, (ii) an innovative lab-evolved TAR-binding protein, and (iii) an ultrahigh-affinity cyclic peptide. New structural details are used to model the TAR-Tat-super-elongation complex (SEC) that is essential for efficient viral transcription and represents a focal point for antiviral drug design. A key prediction is that the Tat transactivation domain makes modest contacts with the TAR apical loop, whereas its arginine-rich motif spans the entire length of the TAR major groove. This expansive interface has significant implications for drug discovery and design, and it further suggests that future lab-evolved proteins could be deployed to discover steric restriction points that block Tat-mediated recruitment of the host SEC to HIV-1 TAR.
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:<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.