Sequences Just Upstream of the Simian Immunodeficiency Virus Core Enhancer Allow Efficient Replication in the Absence of NF-κB and Sp1 Binding Elements
Journal of Virology
Large deletions of the upstream U3 sequences in the long terminal repeats (LTRs) of human immunodeficiency virus and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) accumulate in vivo in the absence of an intact nef gene. In the SIV U3 region, about 65 bp just upstream of the single NF-κB binding site always remained intact, and some evidence for a novel enhancer element in this region exists. We analyzed the transcriptional and replicative capacities of SIVmac239 mutants containing deletions or mutations
... tions or mutations in these upstream U3 sequences and/or the NF-κB and Sp1 binding sites. Even in the absence of 400 bp of upstream U3 sequences, the NF-κB site and all four Sp1 binding sites, the SIV promoter maintained about 15% of the wild-type LTR activity and was fully responsive to Tat activation in transient reporter assays. The effects of these deletions on virus production after transfection of COS-1 cells with full-length proviral constructs were much greater. Deletion of the upstream U3 sequences had no significant influence on viral replication when either the single NF-κB site or the Sp1 binding sites were intact. In contrast, the 26 bp of sequence located immediately upstream of the NF-κB site was essential for efficient replication when all core enhancer elements were deleted. A purine-rich site in this region binds specifically to the transcription factor Elf-1, a member of the etsproto-oncogene-encoded family. Our results indicate a high degree of functional redundancy in the SIVmac U3 region. Furthermore, we defined a novel regulatory element located immediately upstream of the NF-κB binding site that allows efficient viral replication in the absence of the entire core enhancer region.