The human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) long terminal repeat (LTR) contains binding sites for several host transcription factors that contribute to HIV-1 gene expression. Although previous reports have indicated that HIV-1 Nef positively or negatively regulates HIV-1 gene expression, the precise molecular mechanisms by which this occurs remain largely unknown. In this study, we report that Nef suppressed LTR-driven transcription only in the presence of HIV-1 Tat, which was localized to the cytoplasm and degraded by the proteasome. However, the depletion of Hsp70 was found to reduce the suppressive effect of Nef on HIV-1 gene expression. These results suggest that Nef suppresses Hsp70-mediated HIV-1 Tat activation.
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