The variances of Sp1 and NF-?B elements correlate with the greater capacity of Chinese HIV-1 B'-LTR for driving gene expression.
ABSTRACT: The 5' end of HIV-1 long terminal repeat (LTR) serves as a promoter that plays an essential role in driving viral gene transcription. Manipulation of HIV-1 LTR provides a potential therapeutic strategy for suppressing viral gene expression or excising integrated provirus. Subtype-specific genetic diversity in the LTR region has been observed. The minor variance of LTR, particularly in the transcription factor binding sites, can have a profound impact on its activity. However, the LTR profiles from major endemic Chinese subtypes are not well characterized. Here, by characterizing the sequences and functions of LTRs from endemic Chinese HIV-1 subtypes, we showed that nucleotide variances of Sp1 core promoter and NF-?B element are associated with varied LTR capacity for driving viral gene transcription. The greater responsiveness of Chinese HIV-1 B'-LTR for driving viral gene transcription upon stimulation is associated with an increased level of viral reactivation. Moreover, we demonstrated that the introduction of CRISPR/dead Cas9 targeting Sp1 or NF-?B element suppressed viral gene expression. Taken together, our study characterized LTRs from endemic HIV-1 subtypes in China and suggests a potential target for the suppression of viral gene expression and a novel strategy that facilitates the accomplishment of a functional cure.
Project description:BACKGROUND: HIV-1 transcription initiation depends on cellular transcription factors that bind to promoter sequences in the Long Terminal Repeat (LTR). Each HIV-1 subtype has a specific LTR promoter configuration and even minor sequence changes in the transcription factor binding sites (TFBS) or their arrangement can impact transcriptional activity. Most latency studies have focused on HIV-1 subtype B strains, and the degree to which LTR promoter variation contributes to differences in proviral latency is therefore largely unknown. Latency differences may influence establishment and size of viral reservoirs as well as the possibility to clear the virus by therapeutic intervention. RESULTS: We investigated the proviral transcriptional latency properties of different HIV-1 subtypes as their LTRs have unique assemblies of transcription factor binding sites. We constructed recombinant viral genomes with the subtype-specific promoters inserted in the common backbone of the subtype B LAI isolate. The recombinant viruses are isogenic, except for the core promoter region that encodes all major TFBS, including NF?B and Sp1 sites. We developed and optimized an assay to investigate HIV-1 proviral latency in T cell lines. Our data show that the majority of HIV-1 infected T cells only start viral gene expression after TNF? activation. CONCLUSIONS: There were no gross differences among the subtypes, both in the initial latency level and the activation response, except for subtype AE that combines an increased level of basal transcription with a reduced TNF? response. This subtype AE property is related to the presence of a GABP instead of NF?B binding site in the LTR.
Project description:The HIV-2 long terminal repeat (LTR) region contains several transcription factor (TF) binding sites. Efficient LTR transactivation by cellular TF and viral proteins is crucial for HIV-2 reactivation and viral production. Proviral LTRs from 66 antiretroviral-naive HIV-2-infected patients included in the French ANRS HIV-2 CO5 Cohort were sequenced. High genetic variability within the HIV-2 LTR was observed, notably in the U3 subregion, the subregion encompassing most known TF binding sites. Genetic variability was significantly higher in HIV-2 group B than in group A viruses. Notably, all group B viruses lacked the peri-ETS binding site, and 4 group B sequences (11%) also presented a complete deletion of the first Sp1 binding site. The lack of a peri-ETS binding site was responsible for lower transcriptional activity in activated T lymphocytes, while deletion of the first Sp1 binding site lowered basal or Tat-mediated transcriptional activities, depending on the cell line. Interestingly, the HIV-2 cellular reservoir was less frequently quantifiable in patients infected by group B viruses and, when quantifiable, the reservoirs were significantly smaller than in patients infected by group A viruses. Our findings suggest that mutations observed in vivo in HIV-2 LTR sequences are associated with differences in transcriptional activity and may explain the small cellular reservoirs in patients infected by HIV-2 group B, providing new insight into the reduced pathogenicity of HIV-2 infection.IMPORTANCE Over 1 million patients are infected with HIV-2, which is often described as an attenuated retroviral infection. Patients frequently have undetectable viremia and evolve at more slowly toward AIDS than HIV-1-infected patients. Several studies have reported a smaller viral reservoir in peripheral blood mononuclear cells in HIV-2-infected patients than in HIV-1-infected patients, while others have found similar sizes of reservoirs but a reduced amount of cell-associated RNA, suggesting a block in HIV-2 transcription. Recent studies have found associations between mutations within the HIV-1 LTR and reduced transcriptional activities. Until now, mutations within the HIV-2 LTR region have scarcely been studied. We conducted this research to discover if such mutations exist in the HIV-2 LTR and their potential association with the viral reservoir and transcriptional activity. Our study indicates that transcription of HIV-2 group B proviruses may be impaired, which might explain the small viral reservoir observed in patients.
Project description:The CRISPR/Cas9 system has been proposed as a cure strategy for HIV. However, few published guide RNAs (gRNAs) are predicted to cleave the majority of HIV-1 viral quasispecies (vQS) observed within and among patients. We report the design of a novel pipeline to identify gRNAs that target HIV across a large number of infected individuals. Next generation sequencing (NGS) of LTRs from 269 HIV-1-infected samples in the Drexel CARES Cohort was used to select gRNAs with predicted broad-spectrum activity. In silico, D-LTR-P4-227913 (package of the top 4 gRNAs) accounted for all detectable genetic variation within the vQS of the 269 samples and the Los Alamos National Laboratory HIV database. In silico secondary structure analyses from NGS indicated extensive TAR stem-loop malformations predicted to inactivate proviral transcription, which was confirmed by reduced viral gene expression in TZM-bl or P4R5 cells. Similarly, a high sensitivity in vitro CRISPR/Cas9 cleavage assay showed that the top-ranked gRNA was the most effective at cleaving patient-derived HIV-1 LTRs from five patients. Furthermore, the D-LTR-P4-227913 was predicted to cleave a median of 96.1% of patient-derived sequences from other HIV subtypes. These results demonstrate that the gRNAs possess broad-spectrum cutting activity and could contribute to an HIV cure.
Project description:We determined the effect of mutations generated in HIV-1 LTR on viral gene expression in six mother-infant pairs following vertical transmission. We show that the functional domains critical for LTR function, the promoter (TATAA), enhancers (three SpI and two NFkappaB sites), the modulatory region (two AP-I sites, two NFAT, one NF-IL6 site, one Ets-1, and one USF-1) and the TAR region were generally conserved among mother-infant pairs, although we observed several patient and pair specific mutations in these important domains. We then determined the promoter activity of our mother-infant LTR sequences by measuring CAT gene expression, which was driven by these LTRs and found that most of these HIV-1 LTRs derived from 6 mother-infant pairs were functional. However, mutations in the important transcription factor binding sites, including TATAA, SpI, NFkappaB, AP-I, NFAT, NF-IL6, Ets-1, USF-1 and TAR resulted in reduced LTR driven CAT gene expression. Taken together, conservation of functional domains in the LTR during vertical transmission supports the notion that a functional LTR is critical in viral replication and pathogenesis and mutations generated during the course of infection correlated with HIV-1 gene expression.
Project description:The human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) long terminal repeat (LTR) is transactivated by various extracellular signals and viral cofactors that include human herpesviruses. These transactivators are capable of transactivating the HIV-1 LTR through the transactivation response element, NF-kappa B, or other regulatory binding elements. Human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) is a potential cofactor of HIV-1. Here, we report that an HHV-6 gene segment, ZVH14, which can neoplastically transform NIH 3T3 and human keratinocytes, is capable of transactivating HIV-1 LTR chloramphenicol acetyltransferase constructs in an Sp1 binding site-dependent manner. Transactivation increased synergistically in the presence of multiple Sp1 sites and was dramatically reduced by cotransfection with oligomers designed to form triplex structures with HIV-1 LTR Sp1 binding sites. HIV-1 LTR NF-kappa B sites were not essential for ZVH14-mediated transactivation. A putative open reading frame in ZVH14, B115, which may encode a highly basic peptide consisting of 115 amino acid residues, showed transactivation capacity similar to that of ZVH14. This open reading frame also transactivated the HIV-1 LTR in an Sp1 site-dependent fashion in African green monkey kidney cells and human T cells. These data suggest that HHV-6 may stimulate HIV-1 replication via transactivation of Sp1 binding sites present in the HIV-1 promoter.
Project description:Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) gene expression and replication are regulated by the promoter/enhancer located in the U3 region of the proviral 5' long terminal repeat (LTR). The binding of cellular transcription factors to specific regulatory sites in the 5' LTR is a key event in the replication cycle of HIV-1. Since transcriptional activity is regulated by the posttranslational modification of transcription factors with the monosaccharide O-linked N-acetyl-D-glucosamine (O-GlcNAc), we evaluated whether increased O-GlcNAcylation affects HIV-1 transcription. In the present study we demonstrate that treatment of HIV-1-infected lymphocytes with the O-GlcNAcylation-enhancing agent glucosamine (GlcN) repressed viral transcription in a dose-dependent manner. Overexpression of O-GlcNAc transferase (OGT), the sole known enzyme catalyzing the addition of O-GlcNAc to proteins, specifically inhibited the activity of the HIV-1 LTR promoter in different T-cell lines and in primary CD4(+) T lymphocytes. Inhibition of HIV-1 LTR activity in infected T cells was most efficient (>95%) when OGT was recombinantly overexpressed prior to infection. O-GlcNAcylation of the transcription factor Sp1 and the presence of Sp1-binding sites in the LTR were found to be crucial for this inhibitory effect. From this study, we conclude that O-GlcNAcylation of Sp1 inhibits the activity of the HIV-1 LTR promoter. Modulation of Sp1 O-GlcNAcylation may play a role in the regulation of HIV-1 latency and activation and links viral replication to the glucose metabolism of the host cell. Hence, the establishment of a metabolic treatment might supplement the repertoire of antiretroviral therapies against AIDS.
Project description:Hepatitis C virus (HCV) co-infection occurs in ?30-40% of the HIV-infected population in the US. While a significant body of research suggests an adverse effect of HIV on HCV replication and disease progression, the impact of HCV on HIV infection has not been well studied. Increasing data suggest that hepatocytes and other liver cell populations can serve as reservoirs for HIV replication. Therefore, to gain insight into the impact of HCV on HIV, the effects of the HCV Core protein and infectious hepatitis C virions were evaluated on basal and Tat-induced activation of the HIV long terminal repeat (LTR) in hepatocytes. The HIV LTR was highly induced by the HIV transactivator protein Tat in hepatocytes. Activation varied according to the number of NF-kB binding sites present in the LTRs from different HIV subtypes. Involvement of the NF-kB binding pathway in LTR activation was demonstrated using an NF-kB inhibitor and deletion of the NF-kB binding sites. TNF?, a pro-inflammatory cytokine that plays an important role in HIV pathogenesis, also induced LTR activity in hepatocytes. However, HIV LTR activity was suppressed in hepatocytes in the presence of HCV Core protein, and the suppressive effect persisted in the presence of TNF?. In contrast, infectious hepatitis C virions upregulated HIV LTR activation and gene transcription. Core-mediated suppression remained unaltered in the presence of HCV NS3/4A protein, suggesting the involvement of other viral/cellular factors. These findings have significant clinical implications as they imply that HCV could accelerate HIV disease progression in HIV/HCV co-infected patients. Such analyses are important to elucidate the mechanisms by which these viruses interact and could facilitate the development of more effective therapies to treat HIV/HCV co-infection.
Project description:Histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi) can induce human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) transcription from the HIV long terminal repeat (LTR). However, ex vivo and in vivo responses to HDACi are variable and the activity of HDACi in cells other than T-cells have not been well characterised. Here, we developed a novel assay to determine the activity of HDACi on patient-derived HIV LTRs in different cell types. HIV LTRs from integrated virus were amplified using triple-nested Alu-PCR from total memory CD4+ T-cells (CD45RO+) isolated from HIV-infected patients prior to and following suppressive antiretroviral therapy. NL4-3 or patient-derived HIV LTRs were cloned into the chromatin forming episomal vector pCEP4, and the effect of HDACi investigated in the astrocyte and epithelial cell lines SVG and HeLa, respectively. There were no significant differences in the sequence of the HIV LTRs isolated from CD4+ T-cells prior to and after 18 months of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART). We found that in both cell lines, the HDACi panobinostat, trichostatin A, vorinostat and entinostat activated patient-derived HIV LTRs to similar levels seen with NL4-3 and all patient derived isolates had similar sensitivity to maximum HDACi stimulation. We observed a marked difference in the maximum fold induction of luciferase by HDACi in HeLa and SVG, suggesting that the effect of HDACi may be influenced by the cellular environment. Finally, we observed significant synergy in activation of the LTR with vorinostat and the viral protein Tat. Together, our results suggest that the LTR sequence of integrated virus is not a major determinant of a functional response to an HDACi.
Project description:The HIV promoter within the viral long terminal repeat (LTR) orchestrates many aspects of the viral life cycle, from the dynamics of viral gene expression and replication to the establishment of a latent state. In particular, after viral integration into the host genome, stochastic fluctuations in viral gene expression amplified by the Tat positive feedback loop can contribute to the formation of either a productive, transactivated state or an inactive state. In a significant fraction of cells harboring an integrated copy of the HIV-1 model provirus (LTR-GFP-IRES-Tat), this bimodal gene expression profile is dynamic, as cells spontaneously and continuously flip between active (Bright) and inactive (Off) expression modes. Furthermore, these switching dynamics may contribute to the establishment and maintenance of proviral latency, because after viral integration long delays in gene expression can occur before viral transactivation. The HIV-1 promoter contains cis-acting Sp1 and NF-kappaB elements that regulate gene expression via the recruitment of both activating and repressing complexes. We hypothesized that interplay in the recruitment of such positive and negative factors could modulate the stability of the Bright and Off modes and thereby alter the sensitivity of viral gene expression to stochastic fluctuations in the Tat feedback loop. Using model lentivirus variants with mutations introduced in the Sp1 and NF-kappaB elements, we employed flow cytometry, mRNA quantification, pharmacological perturbations, and chromatin immunoprecipitation to reveal significant functional differences in contributions of each site to viral gene regulation. Specifically, the Sp1 sites apparently stabilize both the Bright and the Off states, such that their mutation promotes noisy gene expression and reduction in the regulation of histone acetylation and deacetylation. Furthermore, the NF-kappaB sites exhibit distinct properties, with kappaB site I serving a stronger activating role than kappaB site II. Moreover, Sp1 site III plays a particularly important role in the recruitment of both p300 and RelA to the promoter. Finally, analysis of 362 clonal cell populations infected with the viral variants revealed that mutations in any of the Sp1 sites yield a 6-fold higher frequency of clonal bifurcation compared to that of the wild-type promoter. Thus, each Sp1 and NF-kappaB site differentially contributes to the regulation of viral gene expression, and Sp1 sites functionally "dampen" transcriptional noise and thereby modulate the frequency and maintenance of this model of viral latency. These results may have biomedical implications for the treatment of HIV latency.
Project description:Multiple human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) sequences with deletions of NF-kappaB binding sites at both the 5' and 3' long terminal repeats (LTRs) were identified in serial samples collected from an infected individual. The effect of this deletion on the level of transcription was studied by transient transfection of an LTR-driven luciferase reporter gene and by infection with a full-length recombinant HIV-1 containing a luciferase reporter (HIVHXBluc). Detectable levels of gene expression were found in both systems, in the presence or absence of the viral transactivator Tat. Interestingly, a duplication of a putative TCF-1alpha motif was found in place of the NF-kappaB elements in these viruses. Higher transcriptional activity was observed with HXBLTR (NF-kappaB intact) than with the patient's LTR (NF-kappaB deleted), suggesting that the NF-kappaB binding sites may promote optimal levels of viral gene transcription. The ability of these viruses with NF-kappaB deleted to replicate and cause substantial decline in CD4 cell counts demonstrates that the NF-kappaB binding sites are not absolutely required for viral replication or pathogenicity in vivo. These results are consistent with the notion that the HIV-1 LTR possesses functional redundancy which allows it to interact with multiple transcription factors, thereby ensuring viral replication in a variety of cell types.