HIV-1 can be subdivided into distinct subtypes; the consequences of such a genomic variability remain largely speculative. The long terminal repeats (LTR) control HIV transcription and reflect the major differences of distinct viral subtypes. Three regions in the HIV-1 subtype B LTR are close matches to the Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription (STAT) consensus sequence. Here, we show heterogeneity in these putative STAT binding sites among HIV-1 LTR subtypes A through G. Transfection of constitutively activated STAT5 lead to transcriptional activation of HIV-1 expression in 293T cells transfected with a reporter assay driven by HIV-1 LTR subtype B. Constitutively activated STAT5 transactivated the LTR of various subtypes in U937 cells with different potency. These findings support and expand the potential relevance of STAT5 activation in HIV infection and may bear relevance for a differential regulation of latency and expression of different subtypes of HIV-1.
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