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Advances in Virology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 123605, 28 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/123605
Review Article

Impact of Tat Genetic Variation on HIV-1 Disease

1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Drexel University College of Medicine, 245 N. 15th Street, MS no. 1013A, Philadelphia, PA 19102, USA
2Center for Molecular Virology and Translational Neuroscience, Institute for Molecular Medicine and Infectious Disease, Drexel University College of Medicine, 245 N. 15th Street, MS no. 1013A, Philadelphia, PA 19102, USA

Received 22 February 2012; Accepted 14 May 2012

Academic Editor: Nicola Coppola

Copyright © 2012 Luna Li et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) promoter or long-terminal repeat (LTR) regulates viral gene expression by interacting with multiple viral and host factors. The viral transactivator protein Tat plays an important role in transcriptional activation of HIV-1 gene expression. Functional domains of Tat and its interaction with transactivation response element RNA and cellular transcription factors have been examined. Genetic variation within tat of different HIV-1 subtypes has been shown to affect the interaction of the viral transactivator with cellular and/or viral proteins, influencing the overall level of transcriptional activation as well as its action as a neurotoxic protein. Consequently, the genetic variability within tat may impact the molecular architecture of functional domains of the Tat protein that may impact HIV pathogenesis and disease. Tat as a therapeutic target for anti-HIV drugs has also been discussed.