Activation domains of transcription factors mediate replication dependent transcription from a minimal HIV-1 promoter.
Williams RD., Lee BA., Jackson SP., Proudfoot NJ.
Transcription from a minimal HIV-1 promoter containing the three Sp1 binding sites and TATA box can be activated without Tat by template DNA replication. Here we show that this activation can also be mediated by recombinant GAL4 fusion proteins containing the activation domains of Sp1, VP16 or CTF (or by full-length GAL4) targeted to the HIV-1 promoter by replacing the Sp1 sites with five GAL4 binding sites. Thus Sp1 is not unique in its ability to mediate replication activated transcription, although the degree of processivity elicited by the different activators varied significantly from strongly processive (GAL4-VP16) to relatively non-processive (GAL4-Sp1 or -CTF). Processive GAL4-VP16-activated transcription, but not efficient initiation, required multiple GAL4 binding sites. In the presence of Tat, transcription with GAL4-SP1 and GAL4-CTF was further activated (principally at the level of processivity) but GAL4-VP16-potentiated transcription was only slightly stimulated. The Tat-dependent switch from non-processive to fully processive transcription was particularly marked for GAL4-Sp1, an effect which may be relevant to the selection of Sp1 binding sites by the HIV-1 promoter.