The HIV-1 transactivator protein Tat is a critical regulator of HIV transcription primarily enabling efficient elongation of viral transcripts. Its interactions with RNA and various host factors are regulated by ordered, transient post-translational modifications. Here, we report a novel Tat modification, monomethylation at lysine 71 (K71). We found that Lys-71 monomethylation (K71me) is catalyzed by KMT7, a methyltransferase that also targets lysine 51 (K51) in Tat. Using mass spectrometry, in vitro enzymology, and modification-specific antibodies, we found that KMT7 monomethylates both Lys-71 and Lys-51 in Tat. K71me is important for full Tat transactivation, as KMT7 knockdown impaired the transcriptional activity of wild type (WT) Tat but not a Tat K71R mutant. These findings underscore the role of KMT7 as an important monomethyltransferase regulating HIV transcription through Tat.
Keywords: human immunodeficiency virus (HIV); post-translational modification (PTM); protein methylation; transcription regulation; viral transcription.
© 2016 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.