Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) Tat interacts with cyclin T1 (CycT1), a regulatory partner of CDK9 in the positive transcription elongation factor (P-TEFb) complex, and binds cooperatively with CycT1 to TAR RNA to recruit P-TEFb and promote transcription elongation. We show here that Tat also stimulates phosphorylation of affinity-purified core RNA polymerase II and glutathione S-transferase-C-terminal-domain substrates by CycT1-CDK9, but not CycH-CDK7, in vitro. Interestingly, incubation of recombinant Tat-P-TEFb complexes with ATP enhanced binding to TAR RNA dramatically, and the C-terminal half of CycT1 masked binding of Tat to TAR RNA in the absence of ATP. ATP incubation lead to autophosphorylation of CDK9 at multiple C-terminal Ser and Thr residues, and full-length CycT1 (amino acids 728) [CycT1(1-728)], but not truncated CycT1(1-303), was also phosphorylated by CDK9. P-TEFb complexes containing a catalytically inactive CDK9 mutant (D167N) bound TAR RNA weakly and independently of ATP, as did a C-terminal truncated CDK9 mutant that was catalytically active but unable to undergo autophosphorylation. Analysis of different Tat proteins revealed that the 101-amino-acid SF2 HIV-1 Tat was unable to bind TAR with CycT1(1-303) in the absence of phosphorylated CDK9, whereas unphosphorylated CDK9 strongly blocked binding of HIV-2 Tat to TAR RNA in a manner that was reversed upon autophosphorylation. Replacement of CDK9 phosphorylation sites with negatively charged residues restored binding of CycT1(1-303)-D167N-Tat, and rendered D167N a more potent inhibitor of transcription in vitro. Taken together, these results demonstrate that CDK9 phosphorylation is required for high-affinity binding of Tat-P-TEFb to TAR RNA and that the state of P-TEFb phosphorylation may regulate Tat transactivation in vivo.
SciCrunch is a data sharing and display platform. Anyone can create a custom portal where they can select searchable subsets of hundreds of data sources, brand their web pages and create their community. SciCrunch will push data updates automatically to all portals on a weekly basis. User communities can also add their own data to scicrunch, however this is not currently a free service.