Transactivation of the human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1 tax1- responsive 21-base-pair repeats requires holo-TFIID and TFIIA

J. F. Duvall, F. Kashanchi, A. Cvekl, M. F. Radonovich, G. Piras, J. N. Brady

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is the etiological agent for adult T-cell leukemia and tropical spastic paraparesis/HTLV-1- associated myelopathy. The HTLV-1 Tax1 gene product has been shown to transactivate transcription of viral and cellular promoters. To examine the biochemical mechanism of Tax1 transactivation, we have developed an in vitro transactivation assay in which wild-type Tax1 is able to specifically transactivate a polymerase II promoter through upstream Tax1-responsive elements. The in vitro system utilizes the HTLV-1 21-bp repeats cloned upstream of the ovalbumin promoter and G-free cassette. Purified Tax1 specifically transactivates this template 5- to 10-fold in a concentration- dependent manner. No transactivation of the ovalbumin promoter (pLovTATA) template control was observed. Tax1 transactivation was inhibited by low concentrations of α-amanitin and was effectively neutralized by anti-Tax1 but not control sera. Consistent with in vivo transactivating activity, Tax1 NF-κB mutant M22, but not cyclic AMP-responsive element-binding protein mutant M47, transactivated the template containing the tandem 21-bp repeat. In a reconstituted in vitro transcription assay, Tax1 transactivation was dependent upon basal transcription factors TFIIB, TFIIF, Pol II, TFIID, and TFIIA. TATA-binding protein did not functionally substitute for TFIID in the transactivation assay by Tax1 but was sufficient for basal transcription. Finally, we have used anti-TFIIA antibody (p55) to ask if Tax1 transactivation required TFIIA activity. Addition of TFIIA antibody to in vitro transcription reactions, as well as depletion of TFIIA by preclearing with antibody, showed that TFIIA was required for Tax1 transactivation. Only a slight (twofold) drop of basal transcription was observed. Tax1 transactivation was restored when purified HeLa TFIIA was added back into the reconstituted system. We propose that Tax1 utilizes a transactivation pathway involving the activator regulated basal transcription factors TFIID and TFIIA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5077-5086
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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