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June 23, 2020

mTOR links cellular metabolism to the susceptibility of CD4 T cells to HIV-1 infection by expanding the pools of metabolites that facilitate the synthesis of reverse transcription products and their cytoplasmic transport toward the nucleus. They also characterize targets for HIV-1interventions downstream of mTOR signaling.

March 15, 2019

Evidence suggests that systemic inflammation increases due to HIV infection. C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin (IL)-6 and tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α values were compared between HIV-positive and HIV-negative young MSM and transgender women. CRP values were more than 3 mg/l among 49.8% of participants. HIV status was not significantly associated with CRP nor IL-6. TNF-α was significantly higher among HIV-positive participants. These results suggest the need for further study of the causes and health consequences of elevated systemic inflammation among this population.

November 28, 2018

Chronic elevation of plasma cytokines is a key feature of HIV infection. The physiological consequences of this response to infection and its role in HIV persistence are not fully understood. Here, we show that common gamma chain (γc)-cytokines induce both proliferation and expression of T cell exhaustion markers in a mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR)-dependent fashion, suggesting a possible therapeutic target that, if inhibited, could diminish HIV reservoir expansion, persistence, and resistance to immune surveillance.

May 28, 2015

Quiescent CD4+ T cells restrict human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection at early steps of virus replication. Low levels of both deoxyribonucleotide triphosphates (dNTPs) and the biosynthetic enzymes required for their de novo synthesis provide one barrier to infection. CD4+ T cell activation induces metabolic reprogramming that reverses this block and facilitates HIV-1 replication. Here, we show that phospholipase D1 (PLD1) links T cell activation signals to increased HIV-1 permissivity by triggering a c-Myc-dependent transcriptional program that coordinates glucose uptake and nucleotide biosynthesis. Decreasing PLD1 activity pharmacologically or by RNA interference diminished c-Myc-dependent expression during T cell activation at the RNA and protein levels. PLD1 inhibition of HIV-1 infection was partially rescued by adding exogenous deoxyribonucleosides that bypass the need for de novo dNTP synthesis. Moreover, the data indicate that low dNTP levels that impact HIV-1 restriction involve decreased synthesis, and not only increased catabolism of these nucleotides. These findings uncover a unique mechanism of action for PLD1 inhibitors and support their further development as part of a therapeutic combination for HIV-1 and other viral infections dependent on host nucleotide biosynthesis.

January 2014

Apolipoprotein L1 (APOL1) is a major component of the human innate immune response against African trypanosomes. Although the mechanism of the trypanolytic activity of circulating APOL1 has been recently clarified, the intracellular function(s) of APOL1 in human cells remains poorly defined. Like that of many genes linked to host immunity, APOL1 expression is induced by proinflammatory cytokines gamma interferon (IFN-γ) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α). Additionally, IFN-γ-polarized macrophages that potently restrict HIV-1 replication express APOL1, which suggests that APOL1 may contribute to HIV-1 suppression. Here, we report that APOL1 inhibits HIV-1 replication by multiple mechanisms. We found that APOL1 protein targeted HIV-1 Gag for degradation by the endolysosomal pathway. Interestingly, we found that APOL1 stimulated both endocytosis and lysosomal biogenesis by promoting nuclear localization of transcription factor EB (TFEB) and expression of TFEB target genes. Moreover, we demonstrated that APOL1 depletes cellular viral accessory protein Vif, which counteracts the host restriction factor APOBEC3G, via a pathway involving degradation of Vif in lysosomes and by secretion of Vif in microvesicles. As a result of Vif depletion by APOL1, APOBEC3G was not degraded and reduced infectivity of progeny virions. In support of this model, we also showed that endogenous expression of APOL1 in differentiated U937 monocytic cells stimulated with IFN-γ resulted in a reduced production of virus particles. This finding supports the hypothesis that induction of APOL1 contributes to HIV-1 suppression in differentiated monocytes. Deciphering the precise mechanism of APOL1-mediated HIV-1 restriction may facilitate the design of unique therapeutics to target HIV-1 replication.

October 10, 2012

Caveolin-1 is an integral membrane protein primarily responsible for the formation of membrane structures known as caveolae. Caveolae are specialized lipid rafts involved in protein trafficking, cholesterol homeostasis, and a number of signaling functions. It has been demonstrated that caveolin-1 suppresses HIV-1 protein expression. We found that co-transfecting cells with HIV-1 and caveolin-1 constructs, results in a marked decrease in the level of HIV-1 transcription relative to cells transfected with HIV-1 DNA alone. Correspondingly, reduction of endogenous caveolin-1 expression by siRNA-mediated silencing resulted in an enhancement of HIV-1 replication. Further, we observed a loss of caveolin-mediated suppression of HIV-1 transcription in promoter studies with reporters containing mutations in the NF-κB binding site. Our analysis of the posttranslational modification status of the p65 subunit of NF-κB demonstrates hypoacetylation of p65 in the presence of caveolin-1. Since hypoacetylated p65 has been shown to inhibit transcription, we conclude that caveolin-1 inhibits HIV-1 transcription through a NF-κB-dependent mechanism.

August 2011

Cholesterol plays an essential role in the life cycle of several enveloped viruses. Many of these viruses manipulate host cholesterol metabolism to facilitate their replication. HIV-1 infection of CD4(+) T cells activates the sterol regulatory element-binding protein 2 (SREBP2) transcriptional program, which includes genes involved in cholesterol homeostasis. However, the role of SREBP2-dependent transcription in HIV-1 biology has not been fully examined. Here, we identify TFII-I, a gene critical for HIV-1 transcription in activated T cells, as a novel SREBP2 target gene. We found TFII-I expression increased after HIV-1 infection or activation of human primary CD4(+) T cells. We show that inhibition of SREBP2 activity reduced TFII-I induction in response to these stimuli. More importantly, small interfering RNA (siRNA)-mediated gene silencing of either SREBP2 or TFII-I significantly reduced HIV-1 production in CD4(+) T cells. We also found that TFII-I potentiates Tat-dependent viral gene expression, consistent with a role at the level of HIV-1 transcription. Collectively, our results demonstrate for the first time that HIV-1 transcription in T cells is linked to cholesterol homeostasis through control of TFII-I expression by SREBP2.

December 5, 2010

Podocyte damage induced by HIV-1 is critical to the pathogenesis of HIV-1 associated nephropathy (HIVAN) and is believed to result from productive replication of the virus. Here we demonstrate that HIV-1 readily enters human podocytes by a dynamin-mediated endocytosis but does not establish productive infection. We provide evidence suggesting that viral nucleic acids and proteins detected in podocytes are delivered by viral particles internalized by the cells. Endocytosed HIV-1 is only transiently harbored by podocytes and is subsequently released to the extracellular milieu as fully infectious virus. Similarly, primary podocytes established from normal human urine do not support productive infection by HIV-1 but sustain replication of VSV-G pseudotyped virus that bypasses HIV-1 entry receptors. Moreover, transfected podocytes expressing CD4 and CXCR4 receptors support productive replication of HIV-1. This further confirms that lack of HIV-1 entry receptors is the major barrier preventing productive infection of podocytes in vitro.

January 2009

The human cytidine deaminase APOBEC3G (A3G) is a part of a cellular defense system against human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and other retroviruses. Antiretroviral activity of A3G can be severely blunted in the presence of the HIV-1 protein Vif. However, in some cells expressing the enzymatically active low-molecular-mass form of A3G, HIV-1 replication is restricted at preintegration steps, before accumulation of Vif. Here, we show that A3G can be secreted by cells in exosomes that confer resistance to both vif-defective and wild-type HIV-1 in exosome recipient cells. Our results also suggest that A3G is the major exosomal component responsible for the anti-HIV-1 activity of exosomes. However, enzymatic activity of encapsidated A3G does not correlate with the observed limited cytidine deamination in HIV-1 DNA, suggesting that A3G-laden exosomes restrict HIV-1 through a nonenzymatic mechanism. Real-time PCR quantitation demonstrated that A3G exosomes reduce accumulation of HIV-1 reverse transcription products and steady-state levels of HIV-1 Gag and Vif proteins. Our findings suggest that A3G exosomes could be developed into a novel class of anti-HIV-1 therapeutics

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