The role of the negative elongation factor (NELF) in maintaining HIV latency was investigated following small hairpin RNA (shRNA) knockdown of the NELF-E subunit, a condition that induced high levels of proviral transcription in latently infected Jurkat T cells. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays showed that latent proviruses accumulate RNA polymerase II (RNAP II) on the 5' long terminal repeat (LTR) but not on the 3' LTR. NELF colocalizes with RNAP II, and its level increases following proviral induction. RNAP II pause sites on the HIV provirus were mapped to high resolution by ChIP with high-throughput sequencing (ChIP-Seq). Like cellular promoters, RNAP II accumulates at around position +30, but HIV also shows additional pausing at +90, which is immediately downstream of a transactivation response (TAR) element and other distal sites on the HIV LTR. Following NELF-E knockdown or tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-?) stimulation, promoter-proximal RNAP II levels increase up to 3-fold, and there is a dramatic increase in RNAP II levels within the HIV genome. These data support a kinetic model for proviral transcription based on continuous replacement of paused RNAP II during both latency and productive transcription. In contrast to most cellular genes, HIV is highly activated by the combined effects of NELF-E depletion and activation of initiation by TNF-?, suggesting that opportunities exist to selectively activate latent HIV proviruses.
Human ?-defensin 3 (hBD-3) activates antigen-presenting cells through Toll-like receptors (TLRs) 1/2. Several TLR1/2 agonists have been identified but little is known about how they might differentially affect cellular activation. We compared the effects of hBD-3 with those of another TLR1/2 agonist, Pam(3) CSK(4) , in human monocytes. Monocytes incubated with hBD-3 or Pam(3) CSK(4) produced interleukin-6 (IL-6), IL-8 and IL-1?, but only Pam(3) CSK(4) induced IL-10. The IL-10 induction by Pam(3) CSK(4) caused down-modulation of the co-stimulatory molecule, CD86, whereas CD86 expression was increased in monocytes exposed to hBD-3. Assessment of signalling pathways linked to IL-10 induction indicated that mitogen-activated protein kinases were activated similarly by hBD-3 or Pam(3) CSK(4) , whereas the non-canonical nuclear factor-?B pathway was only induced by Pam(3) CSK(4) . Our data suggest that the lack of non-canonical nuclear factor-?B signalling by hBD-3 could contribute to the failure of this TLR agonist to induce production of the anti-inflammatory cytokine, IL-10, in human monocytes.
CC Chemokine Receptor 5 (CCR5) is an important mediator of chemotaxis and the primary coreceptor for HIV-1. A recent report by other researchers suggested that primary T cells harbor pools of intracellular CCR5. With the use of a series of complementary techniques to measure CCR5 expression (antibody labeling, Western blot, quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction), we established that intracellular pools of CCR5 do not exist and that the results obtained by the other researchers were false-positives that arose because of the generation of irrelevant binding sites for anti-CCR5 antibodies during fixation and permeabilization of cells.
CCR5, a cell surface molecule critical for the transmission and spread of HIV-1, is dynamically regulated during T cell activation and differentiation. The molecular mechanism linking T cell activation to modulation of CCR5 expression remains undefined. Kruppel-like factor 2 (KLF2) is a transcription factor that promotes quiescence, survival, and in part by modulating chemokine receptor levels, induces homing to secondary lymphoid organs. Given the relationship between T cell activation and chemokine receptor expression, we tested whether the abundance of KLF2 after T cell activation regulates CCR5 expression and, thus, susceptibility of a T cell to CCR5-dependent HIV-1 strains (R5). We observed a strong correlation between T cell activation, expression of KLF2 and CCR5, and susceptibility to infection. To directly measure how KLF2 affects CCR5 regulation, we introduced small interfering RNA targeting KLF2 expression and demonstrated that reduced KLF2 expression also resulted in less CCR5. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays identified KLF2 bound to the CCR5 promoter in resting but not CD3/28 activated T cells, suggesting that KLF2 directly regulates CCR5 expression. Introduction of KLF2 under control of a heterologous promoter could restore CCR5 expression and R5 susceptibility to CD3/28 costimulated T cells and some transformed cell lines. Thus, KLF2 is a host factor that modulates CCR5 expression in CD4 T cells and influences susceptibility to R5 infection.
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