Block of Tat-mediated transactivation of tumor necrosis factor beta gene expression by polymeric-TAR decoys.Virology. 1996 Aug 01; 222(1):252-6.V
The tat gene product (Tat) of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is an early regulatory protein which transactivates HIV-1 gene expression by interacting with the trans-activation response element (TAR) present in the HIV-1 long terminal repeat (LTR). In HIV-1-infected cells Tat can also activate the expression of tumor necrosis factor (TNF). Recent results indicate that essential for this effect is the interaction of Tat with a TAR-like structure present in the TNF beta messenger RNA leader region that closely resembles the TAR of the HIV-LTR. Here we show that because of this similarity of mechanisms, the expression of an RNA species encoding polymeric-TAR sequences and known to inhibit Tat-mediated HIV-1 gene expression also blocks TNF gene expression in response to Tat, but not TNF promoter activation induced by human T cell leukemia/lymphotropic virus type I Tax protein. Since TNF is increased in HIV-1-infected individuals and can activate HIV-1 gene expression or rescue Tat-defective HIV-1 proviruses, activation of TNF by Tat may be part of a complex pathway in which HIV-1 uses its own expression to increase infectivity and to induce disease. This study shows a dual role for the polymeric-TAR construct in inhibiting HIV-1 replication and strengthens the potential use of this protective gene in gene therapy for AIDS.