Cooperative inhibition of NF-kappa B and Tat-induced superactivation of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 long terminal repeat

D K Biswas, C M Ahlers, B J Dezube, A B Pardee
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 1993 December 1, 90 (23): 11044-8
Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) long terminal repeat (LTR)-regulated gene expression is stimulated independently by the cellular trans-activator NF-kappa B and the viral protein Tat. Noncytotoxic concentrations of the drug pentoxifylline (PTX) inhibited interaction of NF-kappa B with its motif and the stimulation of HIV-1 LTR-driven gene expression in Jurkat cells. Tat protein (from a cotransfected Tat-expression vector) also induced activation of HIV-1 LTR-driven gene expression. This activation was unaffected by PTX when NF-kappa B sites in the HIV-1 LTR were mutated, suggesting that this drug does not directly influence Tat function, which, however, was inhibited by the Tat-inhibitor Ro 24-7429. Transient reporter gene expression regulated by HIV-1 LTR with wild-type NF-kappa B motifs in the presence of Tat protein was 10- to 60-fold higher than in the presence of either of the trans-activators alone, demonstrating superactivation of HIV-1 LTR by the concerted action of both the trans-activators. Treatment of cells with either PTX or Ro 24-7429 inhibited this superactivation of the HIV-1 LTR. The inhibitory effect of these two drugs in combination, at concentrations that alone did not significantly influence viral promoter activity, was far more than additive. A cooperative action of PTX (NF-kappa B inhibitor) and Ro 24-7429 (Tat inhibitor) on HIV-1 LTR-regulated gene expression is suggested. Concentrations of the drugs that induced maximum inhibition of HIV-1 LTR through their cooperative action are far below cytotoxic levels. Thus, the combination of these two inhibitors could be very effective for anti-HIV therapy.

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