Kaposi's sarcoma associated herpes virus-encoded viral FLICE inhibitory protein activates transcription from HIV-1 Long Terminal Repeat via the classical NF-κB pathway and functionally cooperates with Tat
The nuclear transcription factor NF-κB binds to the HIV-1 long terminal repeat (LTR) and is a key regulator of HIV-1 gene expression in cells latently infected with this virus. In this report, we have analyzed the ability of Kaposi's sarcoma associate herpes virus (KSHV, also known as Human Herpes virus 8)-encoded viral FLIP (Fas-associated death domain-like IL-1 beta-converting enzyme inhibitory protein) K13 to activate the HIV-1 LTR.
We present evidence that vFLIP K13 activates HIV-1 LTR via the activation of the classical NF-κB pathway involving c-Rel, p65 and p50 subunits. K13-induced HIV-1 LTR transcriptional activation requires the cooperative interaction of all three components of the IKK complex and can be effectively blocked by inhibitors of the classical NF-κB pathway. K13 mutants that lacked the ability to activate the NF-κB pathway also failed to activate the HIV-1 LTR. K13 could effectively activate a HIV-1 LTR reporter construct lacking the Tat binding site but failed to activate a construct lacking the NF-κB binding sites. However, coexpression of HIV-1 Tat with K13 led to synergistic activation of HIV-1 LTR. Finally, K13 differentially activated HIV-1 LTRs derived from different strains of HIV-1, which correlated with their responsiveness to NF-κB pathway.
Our results suggest that concomitant infection with KSHV/HHV8 may stimulate HIV-1 LTR via vFLIP K13-induced classical NF-κB pathway which cooperates with HIV-1 Tat protein.