Author(s): Jeyaseelan R, Kurabayashi M, Kedes L
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Abstract Tat, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-encoded transcription factor, is vital for HIV replication and transcription. Any drug that inhibits Tat's activity is a valuable candidate for chemotherapeutic applications. We show here that doxorubicin (Dox), a well-known anticancer drug and its derivative, daunomycin, inhibit the ability of Tat to activate the HIV-1 LTR. We contransfected HeLa cells with pSV40TAT and a chloramphenicol acetyltransferase gene driven by an HIV LTR promoter. CAT transcription was vigorously stimulated many fold by Tat production but the effect of Tat was inhibited by Dox in a dose-dependent manner. The transcriptional activation domain of Tat, located in its 67 amino terminal residues, remains Dox sensitive. A TAR-deleted reporter gene with a Gal binding domain is transactivated by a Gal-Tat fusion protein. This transcription complex retains a high level of activity in the presence of Dox, suggesting that Dox primarily affects RNA-Tat, rather than DNA-Tat, mediated transactivation. RNA gel mobility analysis reveals that Dox does not affect the binding of Tat to TAR-RNA in vitro but does increase the binding activity of cellular nuclear proteins with TAR-RNA. Induction or activation of such TAR-binding proteins in cells that might interfere with the activity of Tat could explain the observed inhibitory effects of Dox on Tat-activated transcription. These results suggest that Dox may have chemotherapeutic effects on HIV expression mediated through TAR RNA.
This article was published in AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses
and referenced in Journal of Developing Drugs