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    Bromodomain protein Brd4 regulates human immunodeficiency virus transcription through phosphorylation of CDK9 at threonine 29. Zhou Meisheng,Huang Keven,Jung Kyung-Jin,Cho Won-Kyung,Klase Zach,Kashanchi Fatah,Pise-Masison Cynthia A,Brady John N Journal of virology Positive transcription elongation factor b (P-TEFb), composed of cyclin-dependent kinase 9 (CDK9) and cyclin T, is a global transcription factor for eukaryotic gene expression, as well as a key factor for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) transcription elongation. P-TEFb phosphorylates the carboxyl-terminal domain (CTD) of the large subunit of RNA polymerase II (RNAP II), facilitating the transition from nonprocessive to processive transcription elongation. Recently, the bromodomain protein Brd4 has been shown to interact with the low-molecular-weight, active P-TEFb complex and recruit P-TEFb to the HIV type 1 long terminal repeat (LTR) promoter. However, the subsequent events through which Brd4 regulates CDK9 kinase activity and RNAP II-dependent transcription are not clearly understood. Here we provide evidence that Brd4 regulates P-TEFb kinase activity by inducing a negative pathway. Moreover, by analyzing stepwise initiation and elongation complexes, we demonstrate that P-TEFb activity is regulated in the transcription complex. Brd4 induces phosphorylation of CDK9 at threonine 29 (T29) in the HIV transcription initiation complex, inhibiting CDK9 kinase activity. P-TEFb inhibition is transient, as Brd4 is released from the transcription complex between positions +14 and +36. Removal of the phosphate group at T29 by an incoming phosphatase released P-TEFb activity, resulting in increased RNAP II CTD phosphorylation and transcription. Finally, we present chromatin immunoprecipitation studies showing that CDK9 with phosphorylated T29 is associated with the HIV promoter region in the integrated and transcriptionally silent HIV genome. 10.1128/JVI.01316-08
    TRIM28 promotes HIV-1 latency by SUMOylating CDK9 and inhibiting P-TEFb. Ma Xiancai,Yang Tao,Luo Yuewen,Wu Liyang,Jiang Yawen,Song Zheng,Pan Ting,Liu Bingfeng,Liu Guangyan,Liu Jun,Yu Fei,He Zhangping,Zhang Wanying,Yang Jinyu,Liang Liting,Guan Yuanjun,Zhang Xu,Li Linghua,Cai Weiping,Tang Xiaoping,Gao Song,Deng Kai,Zhang Hui eLife Comprehensively elucidating the molecular mechanisms of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) latency is a priority to achieve a functional cure. As current 'shock' agents failed to efficiently reactivate the latent reservoir, it is important to discover new targets for developing more efficient latency-reversing agents (LRAs). Here, we found that TRIM28 potently suppresses HIV-1 expression by utilizing both SUMO E3 ligase activity and epigenetic adaptor function. Through global site-specific SUMO-MS study and serial SUMOylation assays, we identified that P-TEFb catalytic subunit CDK9 is significantly SUMOylated by TRIM28 with SUMO4. The Lys44, Lys56 and Lys68 residues on CDK9 are SUMOylated by TRIM28, which inhibits CDK9 kinase activity or prevents P-TEFb assembly by directly blocking the interaction between CDK9 and Cyclin T1, subsequently inhibits viral transcription and contributes to HIV-1 latency. The manipulation of TRIM28 and its consequent SUMOylation pathway could be the target for developing LRAs. 10.7554/eLife.42426
    Phosphorylation of CDK9 at Ser175 enhances HIV transcription and is a marker of activated P-TEFb in CD4(+) T lymphocytes. Mbonye Uri R,Gokulrangan Giridharan,Datt Manish,Dobrowolski Curtis,Cooper Maxwell,Chance Mark R,Karn Jonathan PLoS pathogens The HIV transactivator protein, Tat, enhances HIV transcription by recruiting P-TEFb from the inactive 7SK snRNP complex and directing it to proviral elongation complexes. To test the hypothesis that T-cell receptor (TCR) signaling induces critical post-translational modifications leading to enhanced interactions between P-TEFb and Tat, we employed affinity purification-tandem mass spectrometry to analyze P-TEFb. TCR or phorbal ester (PMA) signaling strongly induced phosphorylation of the CDK9 kinase at Ser175. Molecular modeling studies based on the Tat/P-TEFb X-ray structure suggested that pSer175 strengthens the intermolecular interactions between CDK9 and Tat. Mutations in Ser175 confirm that this residue could mediate critical interactions with Tat and with the bromodomain protein BRD4. The S175A mutation reduced CDK9 interactions with Tat by an average of 1.7-fold, but also completely blocked CDK9 association with BRD4. The phosphomimetic S175D mutation modestly enhanced Tat association with CDK9 while causing a 2-fold disruption in BRD4 association with CDK9. Since BRD4 is unable to compete for binding to CDK9 carrying S175A, expression of CDK9 carrying the S175A mutation in latently infected cells resulted in a robust Tat-dependent reactivation of the provirus. Similarly, the stable knockdown of BRD4 led to a strong enhancement of proviral expression. Immunoprecipitation experiments show that CDK9 phosphorylated at Ser175 is excluded from the 7SK RNP complex. Immunofluorescence and flow cytometry studies carried out using a phospho-Ser175-specific antibody demonstrated that Ser175 phosphorylation occurs during TCR activation of primary resting memory CD4+ T cells together with upregulation of the Cyclin T1 regulatory subunit of P-TEFb, and Thr186 phosphorylation of CDK9. We conclude that the phosphorylation of CDK9 at Ser175 plays a critical role in altering the competitive binding of Tat and BRD4 to P-TEFb and provides an informative molecular marker for the identification of the transcriptionally active form of P-TEFb. 10.1371/journal.ppat.1003338
    Curing HIV: Seeking to Target and Clear Persistent Infection. Margolis David M,Archin Nancie M,Cohen Myron S,Eron Joseph J,Ferrari Guido,Garcia J Victor,Gay Cynthia L,Goonetilleke Nilu,Joseph Sarah B,Swanstrom Ronald,Turner Anne-Marie W,Wahl Angela Cell Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection persists despite years of antiretroviral therapy (ART). To remove the stigma and burden of chronic infection, approaches to eradicate or cure HIV infection are desired. Attempts to augment ART with therapies that reverse viral latency, paired with immunotherapies to clear infection, have advanced into the clinic, but the field is still in its infancy. We review foundational studies and highlight new insights in HIV cure research. Together with advances in ART delivery and HIV prevention strategies, future therapies that clear HIV infection may relieve society of the affliction of the HIV pandemic. 10.1016/j.cell.2020.03.005
    The control of HIV transcription: keeping RNA polymerase II on track. Ott Melanie,Geyer Matthias,Zhou Qiang Cell host & microbe Thirteen years ago, human cyclin T1 was identified as part of the positive transcription elongation factor b (P-TEFb) and the long-sought host cofactor for the HIV-1 transactivator Tat. Recent years have brought new insights into the intricate regulation of P-TEFb function and its relationship with Tat, revealing novel mechanisms for controlling HIV transcription and fueling new efforts to overcome the barrier of transcriptional latency in eradicating HIV. Moreover, the improved understanding of HIV and Tat forms a basis for studying transcription elongation control in general. Here, we review advances in HIV transcription research with a focus on the growing family of cellular P-TEFb complexes, structural insights into the interactions between Tat, P-TEFb, and TAR RNA, and the multifaceted regulation of these interactions by posttranscriptional modifications of Tat. 10.1016/j.chom.2011.11.002
    A cell-intrinsic inhibitor of HIV-1 reverse transcription in CD4(+) T cells from elite controllers. Leng Jin,Ho Hsin-Pin,Buzon Maria J,Pereyra Florencia,Walker Bruce D,Yu Xu G,Chang Emmanuel J,Lichterfeld Mathias Cell host & microbe HIV-1 reverse transcription represents the predominant target for pharmacological inhibition of viral replication, but cell-intrinsic mechanisms that can block HIV-1 reverse transcription in a clinically significant way are poorly defined. We find that effective HIV-1 reverse transcription depends on the phosphorylation of viral reverse transcriptase by host cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) 2 at a highly conserved Threonine residue. CDK2-dependent phosphorylation increased the efficacy and stability of viral reverse transcriptase and enhanced viral fitness. Interestingly, p21, a cell-intrinsic CDK inhibitor that is upregulated in CD4(+) T cells from "elite controllers," potently inhibited CDK2-dependent phosphorylation of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase and significantly reduced the efficacy of viral reverse transcription. These data suggest that p21 can indirectly block HIV-1 reverse transcription by inhibiting host cofactors supporting HIV-1 replication and identify sites of viral vulnerability that are effectively targeted in persons with natural control of HIV-1 replication. 10.1016/j.chom.2014.05.011
    HIV Tat/P-TEFb Interaction: A Potential Target for Novel Anti-HIV Therapies. Asamitsu Kaori,Fujinaga Koh,Okamoto Takashi Molecules (Basel, Switzerland) Transcription is a crucial step in the life cycle of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV 1) and is primarily involved in the maintenance of viral latency. Both viral and cellular transcription factors, including transcriptional activators, suppressor proteins and epigenetic factors, are involved in HIV transcription from the proviral DNA integrated within the host cell genome. Among them, the virus-encoded transcriptional activator Tat is the master regulator of HIV transcription. Interestingly, unlike other known transcriptional activators, Tat primarily activates transcriptional elongation and initiation by interacting with the cellular positive transcriptional elongation factor b (P-TEFb). In this review, we describe the molecular mechanism underlying how Tat activates viral transcription through interaction with P-TEFb. We propose a novel therapeutic strategy against HIV replication through blocking Tat action. 10.3390/molecules23040933
    Transcription: Insights From the HIV-1 Promoter. Ne Enrico,Palstra Robert-Jan,Mahmoudi Tokameh International review of cell and molecular biology In this review, we cover transcription regulation of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) gene expression, focusing on the invaluable contributions, made by HIV research over the years, toward the field of transcription. In this context, the HIV promoter can be considered to be a well-studied model promoter, which although a viral promoter, is subject to the same cellular regulatory mechanisms that modulate the transcriptional control of endogenous host cellular genes. The molecular control of HIV-1 transcription has been well studied and considerable knowledge toward development of alternative strategies for therapies aimed at eradicating both active but also latent HIV-1 has been obtained. Additionally, HIV-1 studies have provided insight into fundamental aspects of transcriptional regulation including transcriptional stochasticity, RNA polymerase II pausing, chromatin regulation of transcription, the role of the +1 nucleosome, the use of an RNA enhancer element, i.e., TAR, the discovery, and essential function of P-TEFb, and the super elongation complex in transcription elongation. These findings have been important not only in deciphering the mechanisms used by HIV-1 to regulate its gene expression and to establish and maintain HIV latency for therapeutic advancement, but were at the same time seminal in pushing the transcription field forward. 10.1016/bs.ircmb.2017.07.011
    The mTOR Complex Controls HIV Latency. Besnard Emilie,Hakre Shweta,Kampmann Martin,Lim Hyung W,Hosmane Nina N,Martin Alyssa,Bassik Michael C,Verschueren Erik,Battivelli Emilie,Chan Jonathan,Svensson J Peter,Gramatica Andrea,Conrad Ryan J,Ott Melanie,Greene Warner C,Krogan Nevan J,Siliciano Robert F,Weissman Jonathan S,Verdin Eric Cell host & microbe A population of CD4 T lymphocytes harboring latent HIV genomes can persist in patients on antiretroviral therapy, posing a barrier to HIV eradication. To examine cellular complexes controlling HIV latency, we conducted a genome-wide screen with a pooled ultracomplex shRNA library and in vitro system modeling HIV latency and identified the mTOR complex as a modulator of HIV latency. Knockdown of mTOR complex subunits or pharmacological inhibition of mTOR activity suppresses reversal of latency in various HIV-1 latency models and HIV-infected patient cells. mTOR inhibitors suppress HIV transcription both through the viral transactivator Tat and via Tat-independent mechanisms. This inhibition occurs at least in part via blocking the phosphorylation of CDK9, a p-TEFb complex member that serves as a cofactor for Tat-mediated transcription. The control of HIV latency by mTOR signaling identifies a pathway that may have significant therapeutic opportunities. 10.1016/j.chom.2016.11.001
    Crystal structure of HIV-1 Tat complexed with human P-TEFb. Tahirov Tahir H,Babayeva Nigar D,Varzavand Katayoun,Cooper Jeffrey J,Sedore Stanley C,Price David H Nature Regulation of the expression of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) genome is accomplished in large part by controlling transcription elongation. The viral protein Tat hijacks the host cell's RNA polymerase II elongation control machinery through interaction with the positive transcription elongation factor, P-TEFb, and directs the factor to promote productive elongation of HIV mRNA. Here we describe the crystal structure of the Tat.P-TEFb complex containing HIV-1 Tat, human Cdk9 (also known as CDK9), and human cyclin T1 (also known as CCNT1). Tat adopts a structure complementary to the surface of P-TEFb and makes extensive contacts, mainly with the cyclin T1 subunit of P-TEFb, but also with the T-loop of the Cdk9 subunit. The structure provides a plausible explanation for the tolerance of Tat to sequence variations at certain sites. Importantly, Tat induces significant conformational changes in P-TEFb. This finding lays a foundation for the design of compounds that would specifically inhibit the Tat.P-TEFb complex and block HIV replication. 10.1038/nature09131
    HIV-1 Vif promotes the G₁- to S-phase cell-cycle transition. Wang Jiangfang,Reuschel Emma L,Shackelford Jason M,Jeang Lauren,Shivers Debra K,Diehl J Alan,Yu Xiao-Fang,Finkel Terri H Blood HIV-1 depends on host-cell resources for replication, access to which may be limited to a particular phase of the cell cycle. The HIV-encoded proteins Vpr (viral protein R) and Vif (viral infectivity factor) arrest cells in the G₂ phase; however, alteration of other cell-cycle phases has not been reported. We show that Vif drives cells out of G₁ and into the S phase. The effect of Vif on the G₁- to-S transition is distinct from its effect on G₂, because G₂ arrest is Cullin5-dependent, whereas the G₁- to-S progression is Cullin5-independent. Using mass spectrometry, we identified 2 novel cellular partners of Vif, Brd4 and Cdk9, both of which are known to regulate cell-cycle progression. We confirmed the interaction of Vif and Cdk9 by immunoprecipitation and Western blot, and showed that small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) specific for Cdk9 inhibit the Vif-mediated G₁- to-S transition. These data suggest that Vif regulates early cell-cycle progression, with implications for infection and latency. 10.1182/blood-2010-06-289215
    Tat competes with CIITA for the binding to P-TEFb and blocks the expression of MHC class II genes in HIV infection. Kanazawa S,Okamoto T,Peterlin B M Immunity AIDS and the bare lymphocyte syndrome (BLS) are severe combined immunodeficiencies. BLS results from mutations in genes that regulate the expression of class II major histocompatibility (MHC II) determinants. One of these is the class II transactivator (CIITA). HIV and its transcriptional transactivator (Tat) also block the expression of MHC II genes. By binding to the same surface in the cyclin T1, which together with CDK9 forms the positive transcription elongation factor b (P-TEFb) complex, Tat inhibits CIITA. CIITA can also activate transcription when tethered artificially to RNA. Moreover, a dominant-negative CDK9 protein inhibits the activity of MHC II promoters. Thus, CIITA is a novel cellular coactivator that binds to P-TEFb for the expression of its target genes.
    A novel CDK9-associated C-type cyclin interacts directly with HIV-1 Tat and mediates its high-affinity, loop-specific binding to TAR RNA. Wei P,Garber M E,Fang S M,Fischer W H,Jones K A Cell The HIV-1 Tat protein regulates transcription elongation through binding to the viral TAR RNA stem-loop structure. We have isolated a novel 87 kDa cyclin C-related protein (cyclin T) that interacts specifically with the transactivation domain of Tat. Cyclin T is a partner for CDK9, an RNAPII transcription elongation factor. Remarkably, the interaction of Tat with cyclin T strongly enhances the affinity and specificity of the Tat:TAR RNA interaction, and confers a requirement for sequences in the loop of TAR that are not recognized by Tat alone. Moreover, overexpression of human cyclin T rescues Tat activity in nonpermissive rodent cells. We propose that Tat directs cyclin T-CDK9 to RNAPII through cooperative binding to TAR RNA. 10.1016/s0092-8674(00)80939-3
    Roles of CDKs in RNA polymerase II transcription of the HIV-1 genome. Rice Andrew P Transcription Studies of RNA Polymerase II (Pol II) transcription of the HIV-1 genome are of clinical interest, as the insight gained may lead to strategies to selectively reactivate latent viruses in patients in whom viral replication is suppressed by antiviral drugs. Such a targeted reactivation may contribute to a functional cure of infection. This review discusses five Cyclin-dependent kinases - CDK7, CDK9, CDK11, CDK2, and CDK8 - involved in transcription and processing of HIV-1 RNA. CDK7 is required for Pol II promoter clearance of reactivated viruses; CDK7 also functions as an activating kinase for CDK9 when resting CD4 T cells harboring latent HIV-1 are activated. CDK9 is targeted by the viral Tat protein and is essential for productive Pol II elongation of the HIV-1 genome. CDK11 is associated with the TREX/THOC complex and it functions in the 3' end processing and polyadenylation of HIV-1 transcripts. CDK2 phosphorylates Tat and CDK9 and this stimulates Tat activation of Pol II transcription. CDK8 may stimulate Pol II transcription of the HIV-1 genome through co-recruitment with NF-κB to the viral promoter. Some notable open questions are discussed concerning the roles of these CDKs in HIV-1 replication and viral latency. 10.1080/21541264.2018.1542254
    Cyclin-dependent kinase 7 (CDK7)-mediated phosphorylation of the CDK9 activation loop promotes P-TEFb assembly with Tat and proviral HIV reactivation. Mbonye Uri,Wang Benlian,Gokulrangan Giridharan,Shi Wuxian,Yang Sichun,Karn Jonathan The Journal of biological chemistry The HIV trans-activator Tat recruits the host transcription elongation factor P-TEFb to stimulate proviral transcription. Phosphorylation of Thr-186 on the activation loop (T-loop) of cyclin-dependent kinase 9 (CDK9) is essential for its kinase activity and assembly of CDK9 and cyclin T1 (CycT1) to form functional P-TEFb. Phosphorylation of a second highly conserved T-loop site, Ser-175, alters the competitive binding of Tat and the host recruitment factor bromodomain containing 4 (BRD4) to P-TEFb. Here, we investigated the intracellular mechanisms that regulate these key phosphorylation events required for HIV transcription. Molecular dynamics simulations revealed that the CDK9/CycT1 interface is stabilized by intramolecular hydrogen bonding of pThr-186 by an arginine triad and Glu-96 of CycT1. Arginine triad substitutions that disrupted CDK9/CycT1 assembly accumulated Thr-186-dephosphorylated CDK9 associated with the cytoplasmic Hsp90/Cdc37 chaperone. The Hsp90/Cdc37/CDK9 complex was also present in resting T cells, which lack CycT1. Hsp90 inhibition in primary T cells blocked P-TEFb assembly, disrupted Thr-186 phosphorylation, and suppressed proviral reactivation. The selective CDK7 inhibitor THZ1 blocked CDK9 phosphorylation at Ser-175, and kinase assays confirmed that CDK7 activity is principally responsible for Ser-175 phosphorylation. Mutation of Ser-175 to Lys had no effect on CDK9 kinase activity or P-TEFb assembly but strongly suppressed both HIV expression and BRD4 binding. We conclude that the transfer of CDK9 from the Hsp90/Cdc37 complex induced by Thr-186 phosphorylation is a key step in P-TEFb biogenesis. Furthermore, we demonstrate that CDK7-mediated Ser-175 phosphorylation is a downstream nuclear event essential for facilitating CDK9 T-loop interactions with Tat. 10.1074/jbc.RA117.001347
    Cyclin-dependent kinase 9: a key transcriptional regulator and potential drug target in oncology, virology and cardiology. Wang Shudong,Fischer Peter M Trends in pharmacological sciences Unlike other CDKs, CDK9 does not regulate the cell cycle but promotes RNA synthesis in genetic programmes for cell growth, differentiation and viral pathogenesis. It is becoming clear that CDK9 inhibition contributes to the anticancer activity of most CDK inhibitors under clinic investigation. CDK9 was discovered in the context of HIV research because retroviruses hijack host transcription and CDK9 inhibitors might become specific antiretroviral agents, particularly as they might prevent drug resistance. Myocardial hypertrophy is a risk factor in congestive heart failure and is characterised by derepressed CDK9 activity. CDK9 inhibitors, thus, can find therapeutic application in cardiology. Although there are strong signs that CDK9 inhibition would be a useful therapeutic strategy in all three indications, the lack of selective inhibitors has so far confounded clinical development. Here we give an overview of the validity of CDK9 as a drug target and of the current knowledge of this kinase and its inhibitors. 10.1016/j.tips.2008.03.003
    The regulation of HIV-1 transcription: molecular targets for chemotherapeutic intervention. Stevens Miguel,De Clercq Erik,Balzarini Jan Medicinal research reviews The regulation of transcription of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a complex event that requires the cooperative action of both viral and cellular components. In latently infected resting CD4(+) T cells HIV-1 transcription seems to be repressed by deacetylation events mediated by histone deacetylases (HDACs). Upon reactivation of HIV-1 from latency, HDACs are displaced in response to the recruitment of histone acetyltransferases (HATs) by NF-kappaB or the viral transcriptional activator Tat and result in multiple acetylation events. Following chromatin remodeling of the viral promoter region, transcription is initiated and leads to the formation of the TAR element. The complex of Tat with p-TEFb then binds the loop structures of TAR RNA thereby positioning CDK9 to phosphorylate the cellular RNA polymerase II. The Tat-TAR-dependent phosphorylation of RNA polymerase II plays an important role in transcriptional elongation as well as in other post-transcriptional events. As such, targeting of Tat protein (and/or cellular cofactors) provide an interesting perspective for therapeutic intervention in the HIV replicative cycle and may afford lifetime control of the HIV infection. 10.1002/med.20081