Elevated levels of mRNA can account for the trans-activation of human immunodeficiency virus

B. M. Peterlin, Paul A Luciw, P. J. Barr, M. D. Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

167 Scopus citations


The genome of human immunodeficiency virus encodes a protein that dramatically elevates amounts of viral proteins. The precise mechanism of this trans-activation remains to be established. It has been reported that trans-activation can occur without major changes in the levels of mRNA. We constructed recombinant plasmids containing those viral sequences required in cis for trans-activation linked to the chloramphenicol acetyltransferase gene. These plasmids were introduced into cultured cells in either the presence or absence of a second plasmid that directed expression of the viral trans-activator protein. Expression of the chloramphenicol acetyltransferase gene was measured at the level of protein (by enzymatic assay) and RNA (by ribonuclease protection and primer extension). Our results demonstrate that trans-activation is accompanied by large increases in mRNA levels; these increases may be sufficient to explain the elevated levels of trans-activated protein.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9734-9738
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number24
StatePublished - 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General
  • Genetics


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