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Full custom peptide synthesis, Purification, and Characterization of Six Tat Variants


Full custom peptide synthesis, Purification, and Characterization of Six Tat Variants. Efficient transcription of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) requires the interaction of the viral protein Tat with the trans-activation response (TAR) stem-loop of the long-terminal repeat (LTR) portion of nascent viral RNA. The production of viable transcripts is enhanced dramatically by the interaction of HIV-1 Tat with the host protein human Cyclin T1. Interaction with hCycT1 remodels Tat protein contributing a single cysteine residue that is critical to the formation of the second of two zinc fingers (Zn2).

AIDS in Africa is characterized by the equal distribution of mortality between the two genders because of highly virulent human immunodeficiency virus type I (HIV-1) strains. The viral protein Tat trans-activates viral gene expression and is essential for HIV-1 replication. We chemically synthesized six different Tat proteins, with sizes ranging from 86 to 101 residues, from HIV-1 isolates located in different parts of the world including highly virulent African strains. Protein purification, mass spectroscopy, and amino acid analysis showed that the synthesis was successful in each case but with different yields. 

We show that all have the ability to bind the HIV long terminal repeat (LTR) RNA trans-activation response element (TAR) region, involved in Tat-mediated trans-activation, but structural heterogeneities are revealed by circular dichroism. These Tat synthetic proteins cross membranes but differ in their ability to trans-activate an HIV LTR-reporter gene in stably transfected HeLa cells. Two Tat proteins from virulent African HIV-1 strains were much more active than those from Europe and the United States. The interferon-induced kinase (PKR), involved in cell antiviral defense, phosphorylates o

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