Background: A recently identified genetic polymorphism located in the 5' region of the HLA-C gene is associated with individual variations in HIV-1 viral load and with differences in HLA-C expression levels. HLA-C has the potential to restrict HIV-1 by presenting epitopes to cytotoxic T cells but it is also a potent inhibitor of NK cells. In addition, HLA-C molecules incorporated within the HIV-1 envelope have been shown to bind to the envelope glycoprotein gp120 and enhance viral infectivity. We investigated this last property in cell fusion assays where the expression of HLA-C was silenced by small interfering RNA sequences. Syncytia formation was analyzed by co-cultivating cell lines expressing HIV-1 gp120/gp41 from different laboratory and primary isolates with target cells expressing different HIV-1 co-receptors. Virus infectivity was analyzed using pseudoviruses. Molecular complexes generated during cell fusion (fusion complexes) were purified and analyzed for their HLA-C content. Results: HLA-C positive cells co-expressing HIV-1 gp120/gp41 fused more rapidly and produced larger syncytia than HLA-C negative cells. Transient transfection of gp120/gp41 from different primary isolates in HLA-C positive cells resulted in a significant cell fusion increase. Fusion efficiency was reduced in HLA-C silenced cells compared to non-silenced cells when co-cultivated with different target cell lines expressing HIV-1 co-receptors. Similarly, pseudoviruses produced from HLA-C silenced cells were significantly less infectious. HLA-C was co-purified with gp120 from cells before and after fusion and was associated with the fusion complex. Conclusion: Virionic HLA-C molecules associate to Env and increase the infectivity of both R5 and X4 viruses. Genetic polymorphisms associated to variations in HLA-C expression levels may therefore influence the individual viral set point not only by means of a regulation of the virus-specific immune response but also via a direct effect on the virus replicative capacity. These findings have implications for the understanding of the HIV-1 entry mechanism and of the role of Env conformational modifications induced by virion-associated host proteins.
|Titolo:||HLA-C increases HIV-1 infectivity and is associated with gp120|
|Parole Chiave:||HLA-C ; HIV-1 ; siRNA|
|Settore Scientifico Disciplinare:||Settore BIO/13 - Biologia Applicata|
|Data di pubblicazione:||ago-2008|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.1186/1742-4690-5-68|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||01 - Articolo su periodico|