TAR RNA loop: a scaffold for the assembly of a regulatory switch in HIV replication

UMMS Affiliation

Chemical Biology Program; Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology

Publication Date


Document Type



Base Sequence; Binding Sites; Chromosome Mapping; Cyclins; Gene Products, tat; HIV-1; Nucleic Acid Conformation; RNA, Viral; Trans-Activation (Genetics); Trans-Activators; Virus Replication; tat Gene Products, Human Immunodeficiency Virus


Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


Replication of HIV requires the Tat protein, which activates elongation of RNA polymerase II transcription at the HIV-1 promoter by interacting with the cyclin T1 (CycT1) subunit of the positive transcription elongation factor complex b (P-TEFb). The transactivation domain of Tat binds directly to the CycT1 subunit of P-TEFb and induces loop sequence-specific binding of P-TEFb onto nascent HIV-1 trans-activation responsive region (TAR) RNA. We used systematic RNA-protein photocross-linking, Western blot analysis, and protein footprinting to show that residues 252-260 of CycT1 interact with one side of the TAR RNA loop and enhance interaction of Tat residue K50 to the other side of the loop. Our results show that TAR RNA provides a scaffold for two protein partners to bind and assemble a regulatory switch in HIV replication. RNA-mediated assembly of RNA-protein complexes could be a general mechanism for stable ribonucleoprotein complex formation and a key step in regulating other cellular processes and viral replication.

DOI of Published Version



Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 Jun 11;99(12):7928-33. Epub 2002 Jun 4. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID