In this review, we cover transcription regulation of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) gene expression, focusing on the invaluable contributions, made by HIV research over the years, toward the field of transcription. In this context, the HIV promoter can be considered to be a well-studied model promoter, which although a viral promoter, is subject to the same cellular regulatory mechanisms that modulate the transcriptional control of endogenous host cellular genes. The molecular control of HIV-1 transcription has been well studied and considerable knowledge toward development of alternative strategies for therapies aimed at eradicating both active but also latent HIV-1 has been obtained. Additionally, HIV-1 studies have provided insight into fundamental aspects of transcriptional regulation including transcriptional stochasticity, RNA polymerase II pausing, chromatin regulation of transcription, the role of the +. 1 nucleosome, the use of an RNA enhancer element, i.e., TAR, the discovery, and essential function of P-TEFb, and the super elongation complex in transcription elongation. These findings have been important not only in deciphering the mechanisms used by HIV-1 to regulate its gene expression and to establish and maintain HIV latency for therapeutic advancement, but were at the same time seminal in pushing the transcription field forward.

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International Review of Cell and Molecular Biology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Ne, E. (Enrico), Palstra, R.-J., & Mahmoudi, T. (2017). Transcription: Insights From the HIV-1 Promoter. International Review of Cell and Molecular Biology. doi:10.1016/bs.ircmb.2017.07.011