Transcriptional profiles of latent human immunodeficiency virus in infected individuals: effects of Tat on the host and reservoir

Xin Lin, Dan Irwin, Satoshi Kanazawa, Laurence Huang, Joseph Romeo, T S Benedict Yen, B Matija Peterlin
Journal of Virology 2003, 77 (15): 8227-36
The persistence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in optimally treated infected individuals poses a major therapeutic problem. In latently infected cells, one of the observed phenotypes is absent elongation of viral transcription. Thus, the positive elongation factor b (P-TEFb), which is usually recruited by NF-kappaB or Tat, is not present on the HIV long terminal repeat (LTR). Although most attempts to activate these proviruses centered on NF-kappaB, we investigated effects of Tat. To this end, we generated transgenic mice, which secreted a chimera between Tat and the green fluorescent protein from beta cells of the pancreas. This extracellular Tat distributed widely, entered nuclei of resting cells, and specifically transactivated the HIV LTR. No deleterious side effects of Tat were found. Next, we determined that Tat can activate latent proviruses in optimally treated infected individuals. In their cells, T-cell activation or exogenous Tat could induce viral replication equivalently. Thus, P-TEFb could activate the majority of the latent HIV, in this case by Tat.

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