Tip60, a cellular histone-acetyltransferase, is known to interact with the HIV-1-encoded transactivator protein, Tat. In this work, we show that the interaction of Tat with Tip60 efficiently inhibits the Tip60 histone- acetyltransferase activity besides its histone-acetyltransferase activity, Tip60 can undergo an autoacetylation which is not affected by Tat interaction. Our data show that Tip60 does not significantly influence Tat- dependent transcriptional activation of the 5'-LTR of HIV, suggesting that its interaction with Tat affects some intrinsic cellular process. We were then able to identify a cellular gene, Mn-dependent superoxide dismutase (Mn- SOD), that has a Tip60-dependent transcriptional activity. Interestingly, the simultaneous expression of Tat and Tip60 abolishes the effect of Tip60 on the activity of the Mn-SOD promoter. We postulate that the HIV-1 transactivator, Tat, in targeting Tip60 hinders the expression of cellular genes (such as Mn- SOD) which normally interfere with the efficient replication and propagation of the virus.
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