Functional roles for the TATA promoter and enhancers in basal and Tat-induced expression of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 long terminal repeat

B. Berkhout, K. T. Jeang

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We have analyzed the contributory role of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) promoter and enhancers in basal and Tat-induced transcription. We found that a minimal promoter competent for basal expression is contained within sequences spanning nucleotides -43 to +80. Basal expression from this HIV-1 promoter was boosted more by the additional presence of the NF-kappa B elements than by the Sp1 elements. The minimal long terminal repeat promoter (-43 to +80), while having an intact TAR sequence, was not Tat inducible. However, the simple addition of short synthetic enhancer motifs (AP1, Oct, Sp1, and NF-kappa B) conferred Tat responsiveness. This ability to respond to Tat was in part dependent on the presence of the HIV-1 promoter. Changing the HIV-1 TATA to other eucaryotic TATA or non-TATA initiators minimally affected basal expression but altered Tat inducibility. Our findings suggest a specific context of functional promoter and enhancer elements that is optimal for Tat trans activation of the HIV-1 long terminal repeat. Our results do not allow conclusions about whether Tat acts at the level of initiation or at the level of elongation to be drawn
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-149
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1992

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