1887

Abstract

We have analysed the capacity of the trophoblast-derived malignant cell lines BeWo, JAR and JEG-3, and primary cultures of highly purified trophoblast cells to support the basal and Tat-mediated trans-activation-enhanced transcriptional activity of two distinct human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) isolates. Kinetic studies based on expression of long terminal repeat (LTR)-chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) constructs revealed that LTRs of both the prototype strain 3B and the highly cytopathic Zairean variant NDK were activated significantly in all target cells. Overall, the strongest activation was observed in primary trophoblasts. A novel modification of quantitative PCR was used to normalize LTR expression for transfection efficiency, enabling the calculation of specific expression rates in terms of µU CAT enzyme per fmol of transfected DNA. Using the latter criterion we determined that LTRs of both viruses were activated in decreasing order from trophoblasts to JAR, JEG-3 and BeWo cells; furthermore, the expression of HIV-1 3B LTR always significantly surpassed that of HIV-1 NDK. The effects of trans-activation on either of the LTRs, when assayed in cotransfection assays with various amounts of HIV-1 NDK-Tat expression vector, increased in a dose-dependent fashion and were comparable in a particular neoplastic cell line. Furthermore, the cell-specific LTR activity patterns did not correspond to the abundance of transcription factors binding specifically to the viral NFκB and SP1 motifs. Unlike SP1-binding proteins which were relatively abundant, substantially smaller amounts of proteins with NFκB specificity were found in all cells. Despite this apparent deficit in NFκB activity, trophoblasts supported a high basal activity of both LTRs. These data indicate that an insufficiency of basal or Tat-trans-activated LTR activity cannot account for the low level of HIV-1 replication in this important cell type.

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1994-06-01
2021-10-26
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