The importance of the R region in basal human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) transcription was addressed by comparing a panel of HIV-1 R region mutants using in vitro and in vivo assays. Using deletion, base substitution mutants, and compensatory mutants, the precise R region sequences essential for basal HIV-1 promoter activity in vitro were mapped to sequences between +17 to +21. Within this regulatory domain, nucleotides +19 and +21 appear to be critical. The effect of these mutations on steady state RNA levels in transfected cells has been analyzed by S1 nuclease protection assay using uniformly labeled probes. Two main conclusions may be drawn from these studies. First, HIV-1 basal transcription is abundant, with the majority of correctly initiated transcripts truncated between sequences +57 to +70. Second, analysis of the compensatory mutants indicates the secondary structure of the nascent R region RNA is not an obligate requirement for the production of the truncated transcripts. Mutations in R region primary sequence that selectively abolish the production of the truncated transcripts in vivo also exhibit reduced promoter activity in vitro. The appearance of high levels of truncated transcripts raise the interesting possibility that-similar to c-myc, c-myb, and c-fos--basal HIV-1 expression is regulated by transcription elongation.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||16|
|State||Published - 1992|