Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 37254203
Link to HAL – hal-04136961
Link to DOI – 10.1186/s12977-023-00625-8
Retrovirology, 2023, 20 (1), pp.10. ⟨10.1186/s12977-023-00625-8⟩
Background: Once integrated in the genome of infected cells, HIV-1 provirus is transcribed by the cellular transcription machinery. This process is regulated by both viral and cellular factors, which are necessary for an efficient viral replication as well as for the setting up of viral latency, leading to a repressed transcription of the integrated provirus. Results: In this study, we examined the role of two parameters in HIV-1 LTR promoter activity. We identified DNA topoisomerase1 (TOP1) to be a potent repressor of this promoter and linked this repression to its catalytic domain. Additionally, we confirmed the folding of a Guanine quadruplex (G4) structure in the HIV-1 promoter and its repressive effect. We demonstrated a direct interaction between TOP1 and this G4 structure, providing evidence of a functional relationship between the two repressive elements. Mutations abolishing G4 folding affected TOP1/G4 interaction and hindered G4-dependent inhibition of TOP1 catalytic activity in vitro. As a result, HIV-1 promoter activity was reactivated in a native chromatin environment. Lastly, we noticed an enrichment of predicted G4 sequences in the promoter of TOP1-repressed cellular genes. Conclusions: Our results demonstrate the formation of a TOP1/G4 complex on the HIV-1 LTR promoter and its repressive effect on the promoter activity. They reveal the existence of a new mechanism of TOP1/G4-dependent transcriptional repression conserved between viral and human genes. This mechanism contrasts with the known property of TOP1 as global transcriptional activator and offers new perspectives for anti-cancer and anti-viral strategies.