Bovine immunodeficiency-like virus (BIV) is a recently identified lentivirus that infects cattle. The virus has structural and genetic similarities to human HIV. The present study demonstrates that BIV can be activated by bovine herpesvirus type 1 (BHV-1), a pathogen frequently associated with cattle diseases. Activation of BIV expression can be detected as increased BIV reverse transcriptase activity, increased in the number of syncytia induced by BIV, and increased in the steady state level of BIV-specific RNA upon BHV-1 super-infection. Additional transactivation studies using the BIV-LTR (long terminal repeat) were conducted. The BIV-LTR was linked to the chloramphenicol acetyl transferase gene (CAT) and transfected into bovine cell cultures in order to quantitate the levels of BIV-LTR expression. When the transfected cells were infected by BHV-1, there was an increase in CAT expression, indicating transactivation of the BIV-LTR by BHV-1. Most of the transactivation activities were abolished with an LTR construct that has deleted the NF-κB-like sequence located in the U3 region of the LTR. In order to further demonstrate that activation of the BIV-LTR involves factors that may bind to the LTR sequences, gel retardation assays were carried out using the BIV-LTR U3 region as probe. Our results showed that BHV-1 infection resulted in an induction of factor(s) that binds to the NF-κB-like sequence on the BIV-LTR. This suggests that transactivation of BIV by BHV-1 may be mediated by a bovine NF-κB-like protein that binds to the target sequence in the BIV promoter region.
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