Inhibition of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 replication in vitro by a novel combination of anti-Tat single-chain intrabodies and NF-kappa B antagonists

A M Mhashilkar, D K Biswas, J LaVecchio, A B Pardee, W A Marasco
Journal of Virology 1997, 71 (9): 6486-94
Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) Tat, an early regulatory protein that is critical for viral gene expression and replication, transactivates the HIV-1 long terminal repeat (LTR) via its binding to the transactivation response element (TAR) and, along with other cellular factors, increases viral transcription initiation and elongation. Tat also superactivates the HIV-1 promoter through a TAR-independent mechanism, including tumor necrosis factor alpha-induced and protein kinase C (PKC)-dependent activation of NF-kappa B, and inhibitors of Tat and NF-kappa B cooperatively down-regulate this Tat-mediated LTR superactivation. In this study, a combined pharmacologic and genetic strategy using two PKC (NF-kappa B) inhibitors, pentoxifylline (PTX) and Gö-6976, and a stably expressed anti-Tat single-chain intracellular antibody (sFv intrabody) was employed to obtain cooperative inhibition of both HIV-1 LTR-driven gene expression and HIV-1 replication. Treatment of cells with PTX and Gö-6976 resulted in cooperative inhibition of both HIV-1 LTR-driven gene expression and HIV-1 replication. In addition, the combined use of anti-Tat sFv intrabodies and the two NF-kappa B inhibitors retained the virus in the latent state for as long as 45 days. The combined treatment resulted in more durable inhibition of HIV-1 replication than was seen with the NF-kappa B inhibitors alone or the anti-Tat sFv intrabodies alone. Together, these results suggest that in future clinical gene therapy trials, a combined pharmacologic and genetic strategy like the one reported here may improve the survival of transduced cells and prolong clinical benefit.

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