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© Research
Publication : Journal of virology

Recombinant human immunodeficiency virus type 1 genomes with tat unconstrained by overlapping reading frames reveal residues in Tat important for replication in tissue culture

Scientific Fields
Diseases
Organisms
Applications
Technique

Published in Journal of virology - 01 Aug 1996

Neuveut C, Jeang KT

Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 8764071

J. Virol. 1996 Aug;70(8):5572-81

Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) Tat is essential for virus replication and is a potent trans activator of viral gene expression. Evidence suggests that Tat also influences virus infectivity and cytopathicity. Extensive structure-function studies of Tat in subgenomic settings with point mutagenesis and transient transfection readouts have been performed. These reporter assays have defined certain amino acid residues as being important for trans activation of reporter plasmids. However, they have not directly addressed functions related to virus replication. Here, we have studied Tat structure-function in the setting of replicating viruses. We characterized mutations that emerged in Tat during HIV-1 infections of T lymphocytes. To ensure that the selection pressure for change was directed toward protein function, we constructed HIV-Is in which the Tat reading frame was freed from constraints exerted by overlapping with the reading frames of vpr, rev, and env. When these recombinant viruses were passaged in T cells, 26 novel nucleotide changes in tat were observed from sequencing of 220 independently isolated clones. Recloning of these changes into a pNL4-3 molecular background allowed for the characterization of residues in Tat important for virus replication. Interestingly, many of the changes that affected replication when they were assayed in transient trans activation of plasmid reporters were found to be relatively neutral. We conclude that the structure-function of Tat in virus replication is incompletely reflected by activity measurements based only on subgenomic transient transfections.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8764071