Transcriptional/epigenetic regulator CBP/p300 in tumorigenesis: structural and functional versatility in target recognition
The viral oncoprotein Tax mediates transcriptional activation of human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1). Both Tax and the cellular transcription factor CREB bind to viral cyclic AMP response elements (vCREs) located in the viral promoter. Tax and serine 133 phosphorylated CREB (pCREB) bound to the HTLV-1 promoter facilitate viral transcription via the recruitment of the large cellular coactivators CBP/p300. While the interaction between the phosphorylated kinase inducible domain (pKID) of pCREB and the KIX domain of CBP/p300 has been well characterized, the molecular interactions between KIX, full-length Tax, and pCREB have not been examined. Here we biochemically characterized the interaction between Tax and KIX in a physiologically relevant complex containing pCREB and vCRE DNA. Our data show that Tax and pCREB simultaneously and independently bind two distinct surfaces on the KIX domain: Tax binds KIX at the previously characterized mixed-lineage leukemia (MLL) protein interaction surface while pCREB binds KIX at the pKID-KIX interface. These results provide evidence for a model in which Tax and pCREB bind distinct surfaces of KIX for effective CBP/p300 recruitment to the HTLV-1 promoter. We also show that MLL competes with Tax for KIX binding, suggesting a novel mechanism of Tax oncogenesis in which normal MLL function is disrupted by Tax.