P-TEFb kinase complex phosphorylates histone H1 to regulate expression of cellular and HIV-1 genes.

The Journal of biological chemistry

PubMedID: 20551309

O'Brien SK, Cao H, Nathans R, Ali A, Rana TM. P-TEFb kinase complex phosphorylates histone H1 to regulate expression of cellular and HIV-1 genes. J Biol Chem. 2010;285(39):29713-20.
Transcription of HIV-1 genes depends on the RNA polymerase II kinase and elongation factor positive transcription elongation factor b (P-TEFb), the complex of cyclin T1 and CDK9. Recent evidence suggests that regulation of transcription by P-TEFb involves chromatin binding and modifying factors. To determine how P-TEFb may connect chromatin remodeling to transcription, we investigated the relationship between P-TEFb and histone H1. We identify histone H1 as a substrate for P-TEFb involved in cellular and HIV-1 transcription. We show that P-TEFb interacts with H1 and that P-TEFb inhibition by RNAi, flavopiridol, or dominant negative CDK9 expression correlates with loss of phosphorylation and mobility of H1 in vivo. Importantly, P-TEFb directs H1 phosphorylation in response to wild-type HIV-1 infection, but not Tat-mutant HIV-1 infection. Our results show that P-TEFb phosphorylates histone H1 at a specific C-terminal phosphorylation site. Expression of a mutant H1.1 that cannot be phosphorylated by P-TEFb also disrupts Tat transactivation in an HIV reporter cell line as well as transcription of the c-fos and hsp70 genes in HeLa cells. We identify histone H1 as a novel P-TEFb substrate, and our results suggest new roles for P-TEFb in both cellular and HIV-1 transcription.