The transcriptional transactivator Tat selectively regulates viral splicing.

Basic Science Department, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL 33431, USA.
Nucleic Acids Research (Impact Factor: 8.81). 12/2009; 38(4):1249-60. DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkp1105
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT HIV-1 gene expression requires both viral and cellular factors to control and coordinate transcription. While the viral factor Tat is known for its transcriptional transactivator properties, we present evidence for an unexpected function of Tat in viral splicing regulation. We used a series of HIV-1 reporter minigenes to demonstrate that Tat's role in splicing is dependent on the cellular co-transcriptional splicing activators Tat-SF1 and CA150. Surprisingly, we show that this Tat-mediated splicing function is independent from transcriptional activation. In the context of the full-length viral genome, this mechanism promotes an autoregulatory feedback that decreases expression of tat and favors expression of the env-specific mRNA. Our data demonstrate that Tat-mediated regulation of transcription and splicing can be uncoupled and suggest a mechanism for the involvement of specific transcriptional activators in splicing.

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