The AFF4 scaffold binds human P-TEFb adjacent to HIV Tat.
ABSTRACT: Human positive transcription elongation factor b (P-TEFb) phosphorylates RNA polymerase II and regulatory proteins to trigger elongation of many gene transcripts. The HIV-1 Tat protein selectively recruits P-TEFb as part of a super elongation complex (SEC) organized on a flexible AFF1 or AFF4 scaffold. To understand this specificity and determine if scaffold binding alters P-TEFb conformation, we determined the structure of a tripartite complex containing the recognition regions of P-TEFb and AFF4. AFF4 meanders over the surface of the P-TEFb cyclin T1 (CycT1) subunit but makes no stable contacts with the CDK9 kinase subunit. Interface mutations reduced CycT1 binding and AFF4-dependent transcription. AFF4 is positioned to make unexpected direct contacts with HIV Tat, and Tat enhances P-TEFb affinity for AFF4. These studies define the mechanism of scaffold recognition by P-TEFb and reveal an unanticipated intersubunit pocket on the AFF4 SEC that potentially represents a target for therapeutic intervention against HIV/AIDS. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.00327.001.
Project description:Superelongation complexes (SECs) are essential for transcription elongation of many human genes, including the integrated HIV-1 genome. At the HIV-1 promoter, the viral Tat protein binds simultaneously to the nascent TAR RNA and the CycT1 subunit of the P-TEFb kinase in a SEC. To understand the preferential recruitment of SECs by Tat and TAR, we determined the crystal structure of a quaternary complex containing Tat, P-TEFb, and the SEC scaffold, AFF4. Tat and AFF4 fold on the surface of CycT1 and interact directly. Interface mutations in the AFF4 homolog AFF1 reduced Tat-AFF1 affinity in vivo and Tat-dependent transcription from the HIV promoter. AFF4 binding in the presence of Tat partially orders the CycT1 Tat-TAR recognition motif and increases the affinity of Tat-P-TEFb for TAR 30-fold. These studies indicate that AFF4 acts as a two-step filter to increase the selectivity of Tat and TAR for SECs over P-TEFb alone.DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.02375.001.
Project description:The HIV-1 Tat protein stimulates viral gene expression by recruiting human transcription elongation complexes containing P-TEFb, AFF4, ELL2, and ENL or AF9 to the viral promoter, but the molecular organization of these complexes remains unknown. To establish the overall architecture of the HIV-1 Tat elongation complex, we mapped the binding sites that mediate complex assembly in vitro and in vivo. The AFF4 protein emerges as the central scaffold that recruits other factors through direct interactions with short hydrophobic regions along its structurally disordered axis. Direct binding partners CycT1, ELL2, and ENL or AF9 act as bridging components that link this complex to two major elongation factors, P-TEFb and the PAF complex. The unique scaffolding properties of AFF4 allow dynamic and flexible assembly of multiple elongation factors and connect the components not only to each other but also to a larger network of transcriptional regulators.
Project description:Developing anti-viral therapies targeting HIV-1 transcription has been hampered by the limited structural knowledge of the proteins involved. HIV-1 hijacks the cellular machinery that controls RNA polymerase II elongation through an interaction of HIV-1 Tat with the positive transcription elongation factor P-TEFb, which interacts with an AF4 family member (AFF1/2/3/4) in the super elongation complex (SEC). Because inclusion of Tat•P-TEFb into the SEC is critical for HIV transcription, we have determined the crystal structure of the Tat•AFF4•P-TEFb complex containing HIV-1 Tat (residues 1-48), human Cyclin T1 (1-266), human Cdk9 (7-332), and human AFF4 (27-69). Tat binding to AFF4•P-TEFb causes concerted structural changes in AFF4 via a shift of helix H5' of Cyclin T1 and the ?-3 10 helix of AFF4. The interaction between Tat and AFF4 provides structural constraints that explain tolerated Tat mutations. Analysis of the Tat-binding surface of AFF4 coupled with modeling of all other AF4 family members suggests that AFF1 and AFF4 would be preferred over AFF2 or AFF3 for interaction with Tat•P-TEFb. The structure establishes that the Tat-TAR recognition motif (TRM) in Cyclin T1 interacts with both Tat and AFF4, leading to the exposure of arginine side chains for binding to TAR RNA. Furthermore, modeling of Tat Lys28 acetylation suggests that the acetyl group would be in a favorable position for H-bond formation with Asn257 of TRM, thereby stabilizing the TRM in Cyclin T1, and provides a structural basis for the modulation of TAR RNA binding by acetylation of Tat Lys28.
Project description:HIV-1 Tat hijacks the human superelongation complex (SEC) to promote proviral transcription. Here we report the 5.9 Å structure of HIV-1 TAR in complex with HIV-1 Tat and human AFF4, CDK9, and CycT1. The TAR central loop contacts the CycT1 Tat-TAR recognition motif (TRM) and the second Tat Zn2+-binding loop. Hydrogen-deuterium exchange (HDX) shows that AFF4 helix 2 is stabilized in the TAR complex despite not touching the RNA, explaining how it enhances TAR binding to the SEC 50-fold. RNA SHAPE and SAXS data were used to help model the extended (Tat Arginine-Rich Motif) ARM, which enters the TAR major groove between the bulge and the central loop. The structure and functional assays collectively support an integrative structure and a bipartite binding model, wherein the TAR central loop engages the CycT1 TRM and compact core of Tat, while the TAR major groove interacts with the extended Tat ARM.
Project description:Early work on the control of transcription of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) laid the foundation for our current knowledge of how RNA Polymerase II is released from promoter-proximal pausing sites and transcription elongation is enhanced. The viral Tat activator recruits Positive Transcription Elongation Factor b (P-TEFb) and Super Elongation Complex (SEC) that jointly drive transcription elongation. While substantial progress in understanding the role of SEC in HIV gene transcription elongation has been obtained, defining of the mechanisms that govern SEC functions is still limited, and the role of SEC in controlling HIV transcription in the absence of Tat is less clear. Here we revisit the contribution of SEC in early steps of HIV gene transcription. In the absence of Tat, the AF4/FMR2 Family member 4 (AFF4) of SEC efficiently activates HIV transcription, while gene activation by its homolog AFF1 is substantially lower. Differential recruitment to the HIV promoter and association with Human Polymerase-Associated Factor complex (PAFc) play key role in this functional distinction between AFF4 and AFF1. Moreover, while depletion of cyclin T1 expression has subtle effects on HIV gene transcription in the absence of Tat, knockout (KO) of AFF1, AFF4, or both proteins slightly repress this early step of viral transcription. Upon Tat expression, HIV transcription reaches optimal levels despite KO of AFF1 or AFF4 expression. However, double AFF1/AFF4 KO completely diminishes Tat trans-activation. Significantly, our results show that P-TEFb phosphorylates AFF4 and modulates SEC assembly, AFF1/4 dimerization and recruitment to the viral promoter. We conclude that SEC promotes both early steps of HIV transcription in the absence of Tat, as well as elongation of transcription, when Tat is expressed. Significantly, SEC functions are modulated by P-TEFb.
Project description:Recruitment of the P-TEFb kinase by HIV-1 Tat to the viral promoter triggers the phosphorylation and escape of RNA polymerase II from promoter-proximal pausing. It is unclear, however, if Tat recruits additional host factors that further stimulate HIV-1 transcription. Using a sequential affinity-purification scheme, we have identified human transcription factors/coactivators AFF4, ENL, AF9, and elongation factor ELL2 as components of the Tat-P-TEFb complex. Through the bridging functions of Tat and AFF4, P-TEFb and ELL2 combine to form a bifunctional elongation complex that greatly activates HIV-1 transcription. Without Tat, AFF4 can mediate the ELL2-P-TEFb interaction, albeit inefficiently. Tat overcomes this limitation by bringing more ELL2 to P-TEFb and stabilizing ELL2 in a process that requires active P-TEFb. The ability of Tat to enable two different classes of elongation factors to cooperate and coordinate their actions on the same polymerase enzyme explains why Tat is such a powerful activator of HIV-1 transcription.
Project description:The AF4/FMR2 proteins AFF1 and AFF4 act as a scaffold to assemble the Super Elongation Complex (SEC) that strongly activates transcriptional elongation of HIV-1 and cellular genes. Although they can dimerize, it is unclear whether the dimers exist and function within a SEC in vivo. Furthermore, it is unknown whether AFF1 and AFF4 function similarly in mediating SEC-dependent activation of diverse genes. Providing answers to these questions, our current study shows that AFF1 and AFF4 reside in separate SECs that display largely distinct gene target specificities. While the AFF1-SEC is more potent in supporting HIV-1 transactivation by the viral Tat protein, the AFF4-SEC is more important for HSP70 induction upon heat shock. The functional difference between AFF1 and AFF4 in Tat-transactivation has been traced to a single amino acid variation between the two proteins, which causes them to enhance the affinity of Tat for P-TEFb, a key SEC component, with different efficiency. Finally, genome-wide analysis confirms that the genes regulated by AFF1-SEC and AFF4-SEC are largely non-overlapping and perform distinct functions. Thus, the SEC represents a family of related complexes that exist to increase the regulatory diversity and gene control options during transactivation of diverse cellular and viral genes.
Project description:The AF4/FMR2 proteins AFF1 and AFF4 act as a scaffold to assemble the Super Elongation Complex (SEC) that strongly activates transcriptional elongation of HIV-1 and cellular genes. Although they can dimerize, it is unclear whether the dimers exist and function within a SEC in vivo. Furthermore, it is unknown whether AFF1 and AFF4 function similarly in mediating SEC-dependent activation of diverse genes. Providing answers to these questions, our current study shows that AFF1 and AFF4 reside in separate SECs that display largely distinct gene target specificities. While the AFF1-SEC is more potent in supporting HIV-1 transactivation by the viral Tat protein, the AFF4-SEC is more important for HSP70 induction upon heat shock. The functional difference between AFF1 and AFF4 in Tat-transactivation has been traced to a single amino acid variation between the two proteins, which causes them to enhance the affinity of Tat for P-TEFb, a key SEC component, with different efficiency. Finally, genome-wide analysis confirms that the genes regulated by AFF1- and AFF4-SEC are largely non-overlapping and perform distinct functions. Thus, the SEC represents a family of related complexes that exist to increase the regulatory diversity and gene control options during transactivation of diverse cellular and viral genes. RNA-seq in HeLa cells of wild-type and after RNAi of AFF1 or AFF4.
Project description:HIV-1 transactivator Tat has greatly contributed to our understanding of transcription elongation by RNAPII. We purified HIV-1 Tat-associated factors from HeLa nuclear extract and show that Tat forms two distinct and stable complexes. Tatcom1 consists of the core active P-TEFb, MLL-fusion partners involved in leukemia (AF9, AFF4, AFF1, ENL, and ELL), and PAF1 complex. Importantly, Tatcom1 formation relies on P-TEFb while optimal CDK9 CTD-kinase activity is AF9 dependent. MLL-fusion partners and PAF1 are required for Tat transactivation. Tatcom2 is composed of CDK9, CycT1, and 7SK snRNP lacking HEXIM. Tat remodels 7SK snRNP by interacting directly with 7SK RNA, leading to the formation of a stress-resistant 7SK snRNP particle. Besides the identification of factors required for Tat transactivation and important for P-TEFb function, our data show a coordinated control of RNAPII elongation by different classes of transcription elongation factors associated in a single complex and acting at the same promoter.
Project description:HIV-1 Tat stimulates transcription elongation by recruiting the P-TEFb (positive transcription elongation factor-b) (CycT1:CDK9) C-terminal domain (CTD) kinase to the HIV-1 promoter. Here we show that Tat transactivation also requires the Ssu72 CTD Ser5P (S5P)-specific phosphatase, which mediates transcription termination and intragenic looping at eukaryotic genes. Importantly, HIV-1 Tat interacts directly with Ssu72 and strongly stimulates its CTD phosphatase activity. We found that Ssu72 is essential for Tat:P-TEFb-mediated phosphorylation of the S5P-CTD in vitro. Interestingly, Ssu72 also stimulates nascent HIV-1 transcription in a phosphatase-dependent manner in vivo. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) experiments reveal that Ssu72, like P-TEFb and AFF4, is recruited by Tat to the integrated HIV-1 proviral promoter in TNF-? signaling 2D10 T cells and leaves the elongation complex prior to the termination site. ChIP-seq (ChIP combined with deep sequencing) and GRO-seq (genome-wide nuclear run-on [GRO] combined with deep sequencing) analysis further reveals that Ssu72 predominantly colocalizes with S5P-RNAPII (RNA polymerase II) at promoters in human embryonic stem cells, with a minor peak in the terminator region. A few genes, like NANOG, also have high Ssu72 at the terminator. Ssu72 is not required for transcription at most cellular genes but has a modest effect on cotranscriptional termination. We conclude that Tat alters the cellular function of Ssu72 to stimulate viral gene expression and facilitate the early S5P-S2P transition at the integrated HIV-1 promoter.