RNA targeting by the HIV-1 Tat protein

Summary

The HIV Tat protein effects potent transcriptional activation of viral long terminal repeat-linked genes subsequent to binding an RNA target structure, termed TAR. Sequence-specific interactions, structure-specific electrostatic interactions, and cooperation with facilitating (cellular) factors collaborate for productive targeting. Binding occurs at a simple bulge loop, a ubiquitous element of RNA structure, and is mediated, in part, by an arginine-rich subdomain, found in many proteins that bind RNA. Principles elucidated from the Tat-TAR interaction provide a model for diverse RNA-protein interactions.

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Weeks, K.M., Crothers, D.M. RNA targeting by the HIV-1 Tat protein. Perspectives in Drug Discovery and Design 1, 225–234 (1993). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02171664

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Key words

  • Tat
  • TAR
  • RNA binding proteins
  • Arginine-rich domains
  • Transcriptional activators
  • Activation domains
  • RNA conformational changes
  • RNA bulges
  • Electrostatic interactions
  • Cooperativity
  • Kinetic vs thermodynamic stability