Cleavage and Polyadenylation Specificity Factor 6 Is Required for Efficient HIV-1 Latency Reversal

Yue Zheng, Heidi L. Schubert, Parmit K. Singh, Laura J. Martins, Alan N. Engelman, Iván D'Orso, Christopher P. Hill, Vicente Planelles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The HIV-1 latent reservoir is the major barrier to an HIV cure. Due to low levels or lack of transcriptional activity, HIV-1 latent proviruses in vivo are not easily detectable and cannot be targeted by either natural immune mechanisms or molecular therapies based on protein expression. To target the latent reservoir, further understanding of HIV-1 proviral transcription is required. In this study, we demonstrate a novel role for cleavage and polyadenylation specificity factor 6 (CPSF6) in HIV-1 transcription. We show that knockout of CPSF6 hinders reactivation of latent HIV-1 proviruses by PMA in primary CD4+ cells. CPSF6 knockout reduced HIV-1 transcription, concomitant with a drastic reduction in the phosphorylation levels of Pol II and CDK9. Knockout of CPSF6 led to abnormal stabilization of protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) subunit A, which then acted to dephosphorylate CDK9, downmodulating CDK9's ability to phosphorylate the Pol II carboxy-terminal domain. In agreement with this mechanism, incubation with the PP2A inhibitor, LB100, restored HIV-1 transcription in the CPSF6 knockout cells. Destabilization of PP2A subunit A occurs in the ubiquitin proteasome pathway, wherein CPSF6 acts as a substrate adaptor for the ITCH ubiquitin ligase. Our observations reveal a novel role of CPSF6 in HIV-1 transcription, which appears to be independent of its known roles in cleavage and polyadenylation and the targeting of preintegration complexes to the chromatin for viral DNA integration. IMPORTANCE CPSF6 is a cellular factor that regulates cleavage and polyadenylation of mRNAs and participates in HIV-1 infection by facilitating targeting of preintegration complexes to the chromatin. Our observations reveal a second role of CPSF6 in the HIV-1 life cycle that involves regulation of viral transcription through controlling the stability of protein phosphatase 2A, which in turn regulates the phosphorylation/dephosphorylation status of critical residues in CDK9 and Pol II.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e0109821
JournalmBio
Volume12
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 29 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • CDK9
  • CPSF6
  • HIV-1
  • ITCH
  • latency
  • Pol II
  • PP2A
  • proteasome
  • reactivation
  • transcription

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Virology

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