In this review, we cover transcription regulation of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) gene expression, focusing on the invaluable contributions, made by HIV research over the years, toward the field of transcription. In this context, the HIV promoter can be considered to be a well-studied model promoter, which although a viral promoter, is subject to the same cellular regulatory mechanisms that modulate the transcriptional control of endogenous host cellular genes. The molecular control of HIV-1 transcription has been well studied and considerable knowledge toward development of alternative strategies for therapies aimed at eradicating both active but also latent HIV-1 has been obtained. Additionally, HIV-1 studies have provided insight into fundamental aspects of transcriptional regulation including transcriptional stochasticity, RNA polymerase II pausing, chromatin regulation of transcription, the role of the + 1 nucleosome, the use of an RNA enhancer element, i.e., TAR, the discovery, and essential function of P-TEFb, and the super elongation complex in transcription elongation. These findings have been important not only in deciphering the mechanisms used by HIV-1 to regulate its gene expression and to establish and maintain HIV latency for therapeutic advancement, but were at the same time seminal in pushing the transcription field forward.
International Review of Cell and Molecular Biology, Volume 335, 2018,