Kamat A, Lyons JL, Misra V, Uno H, Morgello S, Singer EJ, Gabuzda D. Monocyte activation markers in cerebrospinal fluid associated with impaired neurocognitive testing in advanced HIV infection. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2012;60 (3) :234-43.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Activated monocytes/macrophages play a role in severe forms of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND), but little is known about the mechanisms driving milder forms that are prevalent despite combination antiretroviral therapy (cART). To examine relationships of monocyte activation markers to HAND of varying severity, we compared plasma and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarker levels with neurocognitive test scores in HIV+ subjects. METHODS: Plasma and CSF soluble CD14 (sCD14), CCL2, and interleukin (IL) 6 were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in 67 HIV+ subjects with nadir CD4 <300, and CSF inflammatory biomarkers were measured by multiplex assay in 14 subjects on suppressive cART. RESULTS: Eighty-two percent were on cART, with 31% having undetectable plasma viral load (VL). CSF sCD14 was increased in subjects with impaired neurocognitive testing (P = 0.02), correlated inversely with global T scores in subjects with detectable but not undetectable plasma VL (P = 0.02), and yielded higher area under the receiver operating characteristic curve values for predicting impaired T scores (0.659) than plasma or CSF VL and current or nadir CD4 counts in single-marker and multivariate models. CSF sCD14, IL-6, IL-8, CCL2, CCL3, CXCL10, and interferon (IFN) gamma were increased in subjects on suppressive cART regardless of cognitive status and predicted patient class in unsupervised analyses, with IL-8, CCL2, and IFNγ explaining most of the variance. CONCLUSIONS: CSF sCD14 is associated with impaired neurocognitive testing in patients with HIV on nonsuppressive cART, suggesting potential utility as a biomarker to monitor HAND progression. CSF sCD14, IL-6, IL-8, CCL2, CCL3, CXCL10, and IFNγ remain elevated in patients on suppressive cART regardless of cognitive status, implying ongoing intrathecal inflammation even in the absence of clinical manifestations.
Kamat A, Misra V, Cassol E, Ancuta P, Yan Z, Li C, Morgello S, Gabuzda D. A plasma biomarker signature of immune activation in HIV patients on antiretroviral therapy. PLoS One. 2012;7 (2) :e30881.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Immune activation is a strong predictor of disease progression in HIV infection. Combinatorial plasma biomarker signatures that represent surrogate markers of immune activation in both viremic and aviremic HIV patients on combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) have not been defined. Here, we identify a plasma inflammatory biomarker signature that distinguishes between both viremic and aviremic HIV patients on cART and healthy controls and examine relationships of this signature to markers of disease progression. METHODS: Multiplex profiling and ELISA were used to detect 15 cytokines/chemokines, soluble IL-2R (sIL-2R), and soluble CD14 (sCD14) in plasma from 57 HIV patients with CD4 nadir <300 cells/µl and 29 healthy controls. Supervised and unsupervised analyses were used to identify biomarkers explaining variance between groups defined by HIV status or drug abuse. Relationships between biomarkers and disease markers were examined by Spearman correlation. RESULTS: The majority (91%) of HIV subjects were on cART, with 38% having undetectable viral loads (VL). Hierarchical clustering identified a biomarker cluster in plasma consisting of two interferon-stimulated gene products (CXCL9 and CXCL10), T cell activation marker (sIL-2R), and monocyte activation marker (sCD14) that distinguished both viremic and aviremic HIV patients on cART from controls (p<0.0001) and were top-ranked in variables important in projection plots. IL-12 and CCL4 were also elevated in viremic and aviremic patients compared to controls (p<0.05). IL-12 correlated with IFNα, IFNγ, CXCL9, and sIL-2R (p<0.05). CXCL10 correlated positively with plasma VL and percentage of CD16+ monocytes, and inversely with CD4 count (p = 0.001, <0.0001, and 0.04, respectively). CONCLUSION: A plasma inflammatory biomarker signature consisting of CXCL9, CXCL10, sIL-2R, and sCD14 may be useful as a surrogate marker to monitor immune activation in both viremic and aviremic HIV patients on cART during disease progression and therapeutic responses.
Mukerji J, Olivieri KC, Misra V, Agopian KA, Gabuzda D. Proteomic analysis of HIV-1 Nef cellular binding partners reveals a role for exocyst complex proteins in mediating enhancement of intercellular nanotube formation. Retrovirology. 2012;9 :33.Abstract
BACKGROUND: HIV-1 Nef protein contributes to pathogenesis via multiple functions that include enhancement of viral replication and infectivity, alteration of intracellular trafficking, and modulation of cellular signaling pathways. Nef stimulates formation of tunneling nanotubes and virological synapses, and is transferred to bystander cells via these intercellular contacts and secreted microvesicles. Nef associates with and activates Pak2, a kinase that regulates T-cell signaling and actin cytoskeleton dynamics, but how Nef promotes nanotube formation is unknown. RESULTS: To identify Nef binding partners involved in Pak2-association dependent Nef functions, we employed tandem mass spectrometry analysis of Nef immunocomplexes from Jurkat cells expressing wild-type Nef or Nef mutants defective for the ability to associate with Pak2 (F85L, F89H, H191F and A72P, A75P in NL4-3). We report that wild-type, but not mutant Nef, was associated with 5 components of the exocyst complex (EXOC1, EXOC2, EXOC3, EXOC4, and EXOC6), an octameric complex that tethers vesicles at the plasma membrane, regulates polarized exocytosis, and recruits membranes and proteins required for nanotube formation. Additionally, Pak2 kinase was associated exclusively with wild-type Nef. Association of EXOC1, EXOC2, EXOC3, and EXOC4 with wild-type, but not mutant Nef, was verified by co-immunoprecipitation assays in Jurkat cells. Furthermore, shRNA-mediated depletion of EXOC2 in Jurkat cells abrogated Nef-mediated enhancement of nanotube formation. Using bioinformatic tools, we visualized protein interaction networks that reveal functional linkages between Nef, the exocyst complex, and the cellular endocytic and exocytic trafficking machinery. CONCLUSIONS: Exocyst complex proteins are likely a key effector of Nef-mediated enhancement of nanotube formation, and possibly microvesicle secretion. Linkages revealed between Nef and the exocyst complex suggest a new paradigm of exocyst involvement in polarized targeting for intercellular transfer of viral proteins and viruses.
Gray LR, Gabuzda D, Cowley D, Ellett A, Chiavaroli L, Wesselingh SL, Churchill MJ, Gorry PR. CD4 and MHC class 1 down-modulation activities of nef alleles from brain- and lymphoid tissue-derived primary HIV-1 isolates. J Neurovirol. 2011;17 (1) :82-91.Abstract
Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) nef undergoes adaptive evolution in the central nervous system (CNS), reflecting altered requirements for HIV-1 replication in macrophages/microglia and brain-specific immune selection pressures. The role of Nef in HIV-1 neurotropism and pathogenesis of HIV-associated dementia (HAD) is unclear. In this study, we characterized 82 nef alleles cloned from brain, cerebral spinal fluid, spinal cord, and blood/lymphoid tissue-derived HIV-1 isolates from seven subjects with HAD. CNS isolate-derived nef alleles were genetically compartmentalized and had reduced sequence diversity compared to those from lymphoid tissue isolates. Defective nef alleles predominated in a brain-derived isolate from one of the seven subjects (MACS2-br). The ability of Nef to down-modulate CD4 and MHC class 1 (MHC-1) was generally conserved among nef alleles from both CNS and lymphoid tissues. However, the potency of CD4 and MHC-1 down-modulation was variable, which was associated with sequence alterations known to influence these Nef functions. These results suggest that CD4 and MHC-1 down-modulations are highly conserved functions among nef alleles from CNS- and lymphoid tissue-derived HIV-1 isolates that may contribute to viral replication and escape from immune surveillance in the CNS.
Olivieri KC, Mukerji J, Gabuzda D. Nef-mediated enhancement of cellular activation and human immunodeficiency virus type 1 replication in primary T cells is dependent on association with p21-activated kinase 2. Retrovirology. 2011;8 :64.Abstract
BACKGROUND: The HIV-1 accessory protein Nef is an important determinant of lentiviral pathogenicity that contributes to disease progression by enhancing viral replication and other poorly understood mechanisms. Nef mediates diverse functions including downmodulation of cell surface CD4 and MHC Class I, enhancement of viral infectivity, and enhancement of T cell activation. Nef interacts with a multiprotein signaling complex that includes Src family kinases, Vav1, CDC42, and activated PAK2 (p21-activated kinase 2). Although previous studies have attempted to identify a biological role for the Nef-PAK2 signaling complex, the importance of this complex and its constituent proteins in Nef function remains unclear. RESULTS: Here, we show that Nef mutants defective for PAK2-association, but functional for CD4 and MHC Class I downmodulation and infectivity enhancement, are also defective for the ability to enhance viral replication in primary T cells that are infected and subsequently activated by sub-maximal stimuli (1 μg/ml PHA-P). In contrast, these Nef mutants had little or no effect on HIV-1 replication in T cells activated by stronger stimuli (2 μg/ml PHA-P or anti-CD3/CD28-coated beads). Viruses bearing wild-type Nefs, but not Nef mutants defective for PAK2 association, enhanced NFAT and IL2 receptor promoter activity in Jurkat cells. Moreover, expression of wild-type Nefs, but not mutant Nefs defective for PAK2 association, was sufficient to enhance responsiveness of primary CD4 and CD8 T cells to activating stimuli in Nef-expressing and bystander cells. siRNA knockdown of PAK2 in Jurkat cells reduced NFAT activation induced by anti-CD3/CD28 stimulation both in the presence and absence of Nef, and expression of a PAK2 dominant mutant inhibited Nef-mediated enhancement of CD25 expression. CONCLUSION: Nef-mediated enhancement of cellular activation and viral replication in primary T cells is dependent on PAK2 and on the strength of the activating stimuli, and correlates with the ability of Nef to associate with PAK2. PAK2 is likely to play a role in Nef-mediated enhancement of viral replication and immune activation in vivo.
Lyons JL, Uno H, Ancuta P, Kamat A, Moore DJ, Singer EJ, Morgello S, Gabuzda D. Plasma sCD14 is a biomarker associated with impaired neurocognitive test performance in attention and learning domains in HIV infection. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2011;57 (5) :371-9.Abstract
OBJECTIVE: Mild forms of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) remain prevalent in the era of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART). Although elevated lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and immune activation are implicated in HAND pathogenesis, relationships of LPS and inflammatory markers to mild forms of HAND or impairment in specific cognitive domains are unknown. To examine these relationships, we compared plasma soluble CD14 (sCD14), CCL2, and LPS levels with neurocognitive test scores in a cART era cohort. METHODS: We analyzed plasma from HIV+ subjects (n = 97) with nadir CD4 counts <300 and high frequency of hepatitis C virus coinfection and illicit drug use for relationships between sCD14, CCL2, and LPS levels and neurocognitive test scores. RESULTS: Plasma sCD14 levels were higher in subjects with test scores indicating global impairment (P = 0.007), particularly in attention and learning domains (P = 0.015 and P = 0.03, respectively), regardless of HAND diagnosis. Plasma sCD14 levels correlated inversely with global, attention, and learning T scores (P = 0.036, 0.047, and 0.007, respectively) and yielded higher area under receiver operating characteristic values for predicting impaired scores than single-marker models based on plasma or cerebrospinal fluid viral load or CD4 count (area under receiver operating characteristic values = 0.71, 0.81, and 0.71, respectively) and in 4-marker models based on plasma sCD14 and 3 conventional markers compared with the 3-marker models. CONCLUSIONS: Plasma sCD14 is a biomarker associated with impaired neurocognitive testing in attention and learning domains in HIV-infected individuals with advanced disease, suggesting involvement of cortical and limbic pathways by inflammatory processes in the cART era. Plasma sCD14 is a potential biomarker to monitor HAND progression and therapeutic responses.
Olivieri KC, Agopian KA, Mukerji J, Gabuzda D. Evidence for adaptive evolution at the divergence between lymphoid and brain HIV-1 nef genes. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2010;26 (4) :495-500.Abstract
Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV) infection of the central nervous system frequently causes HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND). The role of HIV Nef and other accessory proteins in HAND pathogenesis is unclear. To determine whether HIV nef undergoes adaptive selection in brain, we cloned 100 nef sequences (n = 30 brain and n = 70 lymphoid) from four patients with AIDS and HIV-associated dementia (HAD). Normalized nonsynonymous substitutions were more frequent at the divergence of lymphoid and brain sequences, indicating stronger adaptive selection in brain compared to lymphoid tissue. Brain-specific nonsynonymous substitutions were found within an NH(3)-terminal CTL epitope, the PACS1 binding motif, or positions predicted to be important for activation of the myeloid-restricted Src family tyrosine kinase Hck. These results suggest that adaptive selection of HIV nef in brain may reflect altered requirements for efficient replication in macrophages and brain-specific immune selection pressures.
Holman AG, Mefford ME, O'Connor N, Gabuzda D. HIVBrainSeqDB: a database of annotated HIV envelope sequences from brain and other anatomical sites. AIDS Res Ther. 2010;7 :43.Abstract
BACKGROUND: The population of HIV replicating within a host consists of independently evolving and interacting sub-populations that can be genetically distinct within anatomical compartments. HIV replicating within the brain causes neurocognitive disorders in up to 20-30% of infected individuals and is a viral sanctuary site for the development of drug resistance. The primary determinant of HIV neurotropism is macrophage tropism, which is primarily determined by the viral envelope (env) gene. However, studies of genetic aspects of HIV replicating in the brain are hindered because existing repositories of HIV sequences are not focused on neurotropic virus nor annotated with neurocognitive and neuropathological status. To address this need, we constructed the HIV Brain Sequence Database. RESULTS: The HIV Brain Sequence Database is a public database of HIV envelope sequences, directly sequenced from brain and other tissues from the same patients. Sequences are annotated with clinical data including viral load, CD4 count, antiretroviral status, neurocognitive impairment, and neuropathological diagnosis, all curated from the original publication. Tissue source is coded using an anatomical ontology, the Foundational Model of Anatomy, to capture the maximum level of detail available, while maintaining ontological relationships between tissues and their subparts. 44 tissue types are represented within the database, grouped into 4 categories: (i) brain, brainstem, and spinal cord; (ii) meninges, choroid plexus, and CSF; (iii) blood and lymphoid; and (iv) other (bone marrow, colon, lung, liver, etc). Patient coding is correlated across studies, allowing sequences from the same patient to be grouped to increase statistical power. Using Cytoscape, we visualized relationships between studies, patients and sequences, illustrating interconnections between studies and the varying depth of sequencing, patient number, and tissue representation across studies. Currently, the database contains 2517 envelope sequences from 90 patients, obtained from 22 published studies. 1272 sequences are from brain; the remaining 1245 are from blood, lymph node, spleen, bone marrow, colon, lung and other non-brain tissues. The database interface utilizes a faceted interface, allowing real-time combination of multiple search parameters to assemble a meta-dataset, which can be downloaded for further analysis. CONCLUSIONS: This online resource, which is publicly available at, will greatly facilitate analysis of the genetic aspects of HIV macrophage tropism, HIV compartmentalization and evolution within the brain and other tissue reservoirs, and the relationship of these findings to HIV-associated neurological disorders and other clinical consequences of HIV infection.
Kamat A, Ancuta P, Blumberg RS, Gabuzda D. Serological markers for inflammatory bowel disease in AIDS patients with evidence of microbial translocation. PLoS One. 2010;5 (11) :e15533.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Breakdown of the gut mucosal barrier during chronic HIV infection allows translocation of bacterial products such as lipopolysaccharides (LPS) from the gut into the circulation. Microbial translocation also occurs in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). IBD serological markers are useful in the diagnosis of IBD and to differentiate between Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC). Here, we evaluate detection of IBD serological markers in HIV-infected patients with advanced disease and their relationship to HIV disease markers. METHODS: IBD serological markers (ASCA, pANCA, anti-OmpC, and anti-CBir1) were measured by ELISA in plasma from AIDS patients (n = 26) with low CD4 counts (<300 cells/µl) and high plasma LPS levels, and results correlated with clinical data. For meta-analysis, relevant data were abstracted from 20 articles. RESULTS: IBD serological markers were detected in approximately 65% of AIDS patients with evidence of microbial translocation. An antibody pattern consistent with IBD was detected in 46%; of these, 75% had a CD-like pattern. Meta-analysis of data from 20 published studies on IBD serological markers in CD, UC, and non-IBD control subjects indicated that IBD serological markers are detected more frequently in AIDS patients than in non-IBD disease controls and healthy controls, but less frequently than in CD patients. There was no association between IBD serological markers and HIV disease markers (plasma viral load and CD4 counts) in the study cohort. CONCLUSIONS: IBD serological markers may provide a non-invasive approach to monitor HIV-related inflammatory gut disease. Further studies to investigate their clinical significance in HIV-infected individuals are warranted.
Dunfee RL, Thomas ER, Gabuzda D. Enhanced macrophage tropism of HIV in brain and lymphoid tissues is associated with sensitivity to the broadly neutralizing CD4 binding site antibody b12. Retrovirology. 2009;6 :69.Abstract
Macrophages in the central nervous system (CNS) and other tissues are an important cellular reservoir for human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV) infection, particularly in the later stages of disease. Macrophage-tropic HIV strains have an enhanced capacity to enter cells expressing low levels of CD4 through mechanisms that are not well understood. Here, we use a panel of primary HIV envelopes from brain and lymphoid tissues to examine the relationship between neutralization sensitivity to reagents targeting the CD4 binding site and virus entry into macrophages. Neutralization assays using pseudotyped viruses showed an association between the capacity of HIV to enter macrophages and increased sensitivity to the broadly neutralizing monoclonal antibody (mAb) b12, which recognizes a conserved epitope overlapping the CD4 binding site, but not sensitivity to soluble CD4 (sCD4) or b6, a non-neutralizing CD4 binding site mAb. Furthermore, loss of an N-linked glycosylation site at position 386 in the V4 region of Env enhanced macrophage tropism together with b12 sensitivity, but not neutralization by sCD4, b6, or a broadly neutralizing AIDS patient serum. These findings suggest that exposure of the b12 epitope, rather than exposure of the CD4 binding site per se, enhances HIV macrophage tropism, possibly by exposing a region on the outer domain of gp120 that is initially recognized by CD4. These findings suggest overlap between specific gp120 determinants in or near the b12 epitope and those conferring macrophage tropism.
Joseph J, Clifford D, Douglas SD, Fox H, Gendelman HE, Gonzalez-Scarano F, Grant I, Major E, McArthur J. Planning Future Strategies for Domestic and International NeuroAIDS Research, July 24-25, 2008. J Neuroimmune Pharmacol. 2009;4 (3) :283-97.Abstract
The National Institute of Mental Health in cooperation with the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke organized a meeting on July 24-25, 2008 to develop novel research directions for neuroAIDS research. The deliberations of this meeting are outlined in this brief report. Several critical research areas in neuroAIDS were identified as areas of emphasis. Opportunities for collaborations between large NIH-funded projects were also discussed.
Pery E, Rajendran KS, Brazier AJ, Gabuzda D. Regulation of APOBEC3 proteins by a novel YXXL motif in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 Vif and simian immunodeficiency virus SIVagm Vif. J Virol. 2009;83 (5) :2374-81.Abstract
The APOBEC3 cytidine deaminases are potent antiviral factors that restrict the replication of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). In HIV-1-infected CD4+ T cells, the viral accessory protein Vif binds to APOBEC3G (A3G), APOBEC3F (A3F), and APOBEC3C (A3C) and targets these proteins for polyubiquitination by forming an E3 ubiquitin ligase with cullin 5. Previous studies identified regions of HIV-1 Vif, 40YRHHY44 and 12QVDRMR17, which are important for interaction with A3G and A3F, respectively, and showed that Vif residues 54 to 71 are sufficient for A3G binding. Here, we identify 69YXXL72 as a novel conserved motif in HIV-1 Vif that mediates binding to human A3G and its subsequent degradation. Studies on other APOBEC3 proteins revealed that Tyr69 and Leu72 are important for the degradation of A3F and A3C as well. Similar to A3F, A3C regulation is also mediated by Vif residues 12QVDRMR17. Simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) Vif was shown to bind and degrade African green monkey A3G (agmA3G) and, unexpectedly, human A3C. The YXXL motif of SIVagm Vif was important for the inactivation of agmA3G and human A3C. Unlike HIV-1 Vif, however, SIVagm Vif does not require Tyr40 and His43 for agmA3G degradation. Tyr69 in the YXXL motif was critical for binding of recombinant glutathione S-transferase-Vif(1-94) to A3G in vitro. These results suggest that the YXXL motif in Vif is a potential target for small-molecule inhibitors to block Vif interaction with A3G, A3F, and A3C, and thereby protect cells against HIV-1 infection.
Haim H, Si Z, Madani N, Wang L, Courter JR, Princiotto A, Kassa A, DeGrace M, McGee-Estrada K, Mefford M, et al. Soluble CD4 and CD4-mimetic compounds inhibit HIV-1 infection by induction of a short-lived activated state. PLoS Pathog. 2009;5 (4) :e1000360.Abstract
Binding to the CD4 receptor induces conformational changes in the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) gp120 exterior envelope glycoprotein. These changes allow gp120 to bind the coreceptor, either CCR5 or CXCR4, and prime the gp41 transmembrane envelope glycoprotein to mediate virus-cell membrane fusion and virus entry. Soluble forms of CD4 (sCD4) and small-molecule CD4 mimics (here exemplified by JRC-II-191) also induce these conformational changes in the HIV-1 envelope glycoproteins, but typically inhibit HIV-1 entry into CD4-expressing cells. To investigate the mechanism of inhibition, we monitored at high temporal resolution inhibitor-induced changes in the conformation and functional competence of the HIV-1 envelope glycoproteins that immediately follow engagement of the soluble CD4 mimics. Both sCD4 and JRC-II-191 efficiently activated the envelope glycoproteins to mediate infection of cells lacking CD4, in a manner dependent on coreceptor affinity and density. This activated state, however, was transient and was followed by spontaneous and apparently irreversible changes of conformation and by loss of functional competence. The longevity of the activated intermediate depended on temperature and the particular HIV-1 strain, but was indistinguishable for sCD4 and JRC-II-191; by contrast, the activated intermediate induced by cell-surface CD4 was relatively long-lived. The inactivating effects of these activation-based inhibitors predominantly affected cell-free virus, whereas virus that was prebound to the target cell surface was mainly activated, infecting the cells even at high concentrations of the CD4 analogue. These results demonstrate the ability of soluble CD4 mimics to inactivate HIV-1 by prematurely triggering active but transient intermediate states of the envelope glycoproteins. This novel strategy for inhibition may be generally applicable to high-potential-energy viral entry machines that are normally activated by receptor binding.
Gray L, Roche M, Churchill MJ, Sterjovski J, Ellett A, Poumbourios P, Sherieff S, Sheffief S, Wang B, Saksena N, et al. Tissue-specific sequence alterations in the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 envelope favoring CCR5 usage contribute to persistence of dual-tropic virus in the brain. J Virol. 2009;83 (11) :5430-41.Abstract
Most human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) strains isolated from the brain use CCR5 for entry into macrophages and microglia. Strains that use both CCR5 and CXCR4 for entry (R5X4 strains) have been identified in the brains of some individuals, but mechanisms underlying the persistence of R5X4 viruses compartmentalized between the brain and other tissue reservoirs are unknown. Here, we characterized changes in the HIV-1 envelope (Env) that enhance the tropism of R5X4 variants for brain or lymphoid tissue. R5X4 Envs derived from the brains of two individuals had enhanced CCR5 usage in fusion assays compared to R5X4 Envs derived from matched spleen or blood, which was associated with reduced dependence on specific residues in the CCR5 N terminus and extracellular loop 1 (ECL1) and ECL3 regions. In contrast, spleen/blood-derived Envs had enhanced CXCR4 usage compared to brain-derived Envs, which was associated with reduced dependence on residues in the CXCR4 N terminus and ECL2 region. Consequently, brain-derived Envs had preferential CCR5 usage for HIV-1 entry into the JC53 cell line, could use either CCR5 or CXCR4 for entry into monocyte-derived macrophages (MDM), and could use CCR5 (albeit inefficiently) for entry into peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC), whereas the entry of spleen-derived Envs was CXCR4 dependent in all three cell types. Mutagenesis studies of Env amino acid variants influencing coreceptor usage showed that S306 in the gp120 V3 region of brain-derived Envs reduces dependence on the CCR5 N terminus and enhances CCR5 usage for HIV-1 entry into PBMC and MDM, whereas R306 in spleen-derived Envs reduces dependence on the CXCR4 N terminus and confers the CXCR4 restricted phenotype. These results identify mechanisms underlying R5X4 HIV-1 persistence in different tissue reservoirs. Tissue-specific changes in the gp120 V3 region that increase the efficiency of CCR5 or CXCR4 usage, and thereby influence coreceptor preference, may enhance the tropism of R5X4 strains for CCR5-expressing macrophage lineage cells in the brain and CXCR4-expressing T cells in lymphoid tissues, respectively.
Ancuta P, Liu K-Y, Misra V, Wacleche VS, Gosselin A, Zhou X, Gabuzda D. Transcriptional profiling reveals developmental relationship and distinct biological functions of CD16+ and CD16- monocyte subsets. BMC Genomics. 2009;10 :403.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Human peripheral blood monocytes (Mo) consist of subsets distinguished by expression of CD16 (FCgammaRIII) and chemokine receptors. Classical CD16- Mo express CCR2 and migrate in response to CCL2, while a minor CD16+ Mo subset expresses CD16 and CX3CR1 and migrates into tissues expressing CX3CL1. CD16+ Mo produce pro-inflammatory cytokines and are expanded in certain inflammatory conditions including sepsis and HIV infection. RESULTS: To gain insight into the developmental relationship and functions of CD16+ and CD16- Mo, we examined transcriptional profiles of these Mo subsets in peripheral blood from healthy individuals. Of 16,328 expressed genes, 2,759 genes were differentially expressed and 228 and 250 were >2-fold upregulated and downregulated, respectively, in CD16+ compared to CD16- Mo. CD16+ Mo were distinguished by upregulation of transcripts for dendritic cell (DC) (SIGLEC10, CD43, RARA) and macrophage (MPhi) (CSF1R/CD115, MafB, CD97, C3aR) markers together with transcripts relevant for DC-T cell interaction (CXCL16, ICAM-2, LFA-1), cell activation (LTB, TNFRSF8, LST1, IFITM1-3, HMOX1, SOD-1, WARS, MGLL), and negative regulation of the cell cycle (CDKN1C, MTSS1), whereas CD16- Mo were distinguished by upregulation of transcripts for myeloid (CD14, MNDA, TREM1, CD1d, C1qR/CD93) and granulocyte markers (FPR1, GCSFR/CD114, S100A8-9/12). Differential expression of CSF1R, CSF3R, C1QR1, C3AR1, CD1d, CD43, CXCL16, and CX3CR1 was confirmed by flow cytometry. Furthermore, increased expression of RARA and KLF2 transcripts in CD16+ Mo coincided with absence of cell surface cutaneous lymphocyte associated antigen (CLA) expression, indicating potential imprinting for non-skin homing. CONCLUSION: These results suggest that CD16+ and CD16- Mo originate from a common myeloid precursor, with CD16+ Mo having a more MPhi - and DC-like transcription program suggesting a more advanced stage of differentiation. Distinct transcriptional programs, together with their recruitment into tissues via different mechanisms, also suggest that CD16+ and CD16- Mo give rise to functionally distinct DC and MPhi in vivo.
Mefford ME, Gorry PR, Kunstman K, Wolinsky SM, Gabuzda D. Bioinformatic prediction programs underestimate the frequency of CXCR4 usage by R5X4 HIV type 1 in brain and other tissues. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2008;24 (9) :1215-20.Abstract
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) variants in brain primarily use CCR5 for entry into macrophages and microglia, but dual-tropic (R5X4) HIV-1 has been detected in brain and cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) of some patients with HIV-associated dementia (HAD). Here, we sequenced the gp120 coding region of nine full-length dual-tropic (R5X4) env genes cloned directly from autopsy brain and spleen tissue from an AIDS patient with severe HAD. We then compiled a dataset of 30 unique clade B R5X4 Env V3 sequences from this subject and 16 additional patients (n = 4 brain and 26 lymphoid/blood) and used it to compare the ability of six bioinformatic algorithms to correctly predict CXCR4 usage in R5X4 Envs. Only one program (SVM(geno2pheno)) correctly predicted the ability of R5X4 Envs in this dataset to use CXCR4 with 90% accuracy (n = 27/30 predicted to use CXCR4). The PSSM(SINSI), Random Forest, and SVM(genomiac) programs and the commonly used charge rule correctly predicted CXCR4 usage with >50% accuracy (22/30, 16/30, 19/30, and 25/30, respectively), while the PSSM(X4R5) matrix and "11/25" rule correctly predicted CXCR4 usage in <50% of the R5X4 Envs (10/30 and 13/30, respectively). Two positions in the V3 loop (19 and 32) influenced coreceptor usage predictions of nine R5X4 Envs from patient MACS1 and a total of 12 Envs from the dataset (40% of unique V3 sequences). These results demonstrate that most predictive algorithms underestimate the frequency of R5X4 HIV-1 in brain and other tissues. SVM(geno2pheno) is the most accurate predictor of CXCR4 usage by R5X4 HIV-1.
Wang J, Shackelford JM, Selliah N, Shivers DK, O'Neill E, Garcia VJ, Muthumani K, Weiner D, Yu X-F, Gabuzda D, et al. The HIV-1 Vif protein mediates degradation of Vpr and reduces Vpr-induced cell cycle arrest. DNA Cell Biol. 2008;27 (5) :267-77.Abstract
Prior work has implicated viral protein R (Vpr) in the arrest of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-infected cells in the G2 phase of the cell cycle, associated with increased viral replication and host cell apoptosis. We and others have recently shown that virion infectivity factor (Vif ) also plays a role in the G2 arrest of HIV-1-infected cells. Here, we demonstrate that, paradoxically, at early time points postinfection, Vif expression blocks Vpr-mediated G2 arrest, while deletion of Vif from the HIV-1 genome leads to a marked increase in G2 arrest of infected CD4 T-cells. Consistent with this increased G2 arrest, T-cells infected with Vif-deleted HIV-1 express higher levels of Vpr protein than cells infected with wild-type virus. Further, expression of exogenous Vif inhibits the expression of Vpr, associated with a decrease in G2 arrest of both infected and transfected cells. Treatment with the proteasome inhibitor MG132 increases Vpr protein expression and G2 arrest in wild-type, but not Vif-deleted, NL4-3-infected cells, and in cells cotransfected with Vif and Vpr. In addition, Vpr coimmunoprecipitates with Vif in cotransfected cells in the presence of MG132. This suggests that inhibition of Vpr by Vif is mediated at least in part by proteasomal degradation, similar to Vif-induced degradation of APOBEC3G. Together, these data show that Vif mediates the degradation of Vpr and modulates Vpr-induced G2 arrest in HIV-1-infected T-cells.
Ancuta P, Kamat A, Kunstman KJ, Kim E-Y, Autissier P, Wurcel A, Zaman T, Stone D, Mefford M, Morgello S, et al. Microbial translocation is associated with increased monocyte activation and dementia in AIDS patients. PLoS One. 2008;3 (6) :e2516.Abstract
Elevated plasma lipopolysaccharide (LPS), an indicator of microbial translocation from the gut, is a likely cause of systemic immune activation in chronic HIV infection. LPS induces monocyte activation and trafficking into brain, which are key mechanisms in the pathogenesis of HIV-associated dementia (HAD). To determine whether high LPS levels are associated with increased monocyte activation and HAD, we obtained peripheral blood samples from AIDS patients and examined plasma LPS by Limulus amebocyte lysate (LAL) assay, peripheral blood monocytes by FACS, and soluble markers of monocyte activation by ELISA. Purified monocytes were isolated by FACS sorting, and HIV DNA and RNA levels were quantified by real time PCR. Circulating monocytes expressed high levels of the activation markers CD69 and HLA-DR, and harbored low levels of HIV compared to CD4(+) T-cells. High plasma LPS levels were associated with increased plasma sCD14 and LPS-binding protein (LBP) levels, and low endotoxin core antibody levels. LPS levels were higher in HAD patients compared to control groups, and were associated with HAD independently of plasma viral load and CD4 counts. LPS levels were higher in AIDS patients using intravenous heroin and/or ethanol, or with Hepatitis C virus (HCV) co-infection, compared to control groups. These results suggest a role for elevated LPS levels in driving monocyte activation in AIDS, thereby contributing to the pathogenesis of HAD, and provide evidence that cofactors linked to substance abuse and HCV co-infection influence these processes.
Loerch PM, Lu T, Dakin KA, Vann JM, Isaacs A, Geula C, Wang J, Pan Y, Gabuzda DH, Li C, et al. Evolution of the aging brain transcriptome and synaptic regulation. PLoS One. 2008;3 (10) :e3329.Abstract
Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative disorders of aging are characterized by clinical and pathological features that are relatively specific to humans. To obtain greater insight into how brain aging has evolved, we compared age-related gene expression changes in the cortex of humans, rhesus macaques, and mice on a genome-wide scale. A small subset of gene expression changes are conserved in all three species, including robust age-dependent upregulation of the neuroprotective gene apolipoprotein D (APOD) and downregulation of the synaptic cAMP signaling gene calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase IV (CAMK4). However, analysis of gene ontology and cell type localization shows that humans and rhesus macaques have diverged from mice due to a dramatic increase in age-dependent repression of neuronal genes. Many of these age-regulated neuronal genes are associated with synaptic function. Notably, genes associated with GABA-ergic inhibitory function are robustly age-downregulated in humans but not in mice at the level of both mRNA and protein. Gene downregulation was not associated with overall neuronal or synaptic loss. Thus, repression of neuronal gene expression is a prominent and recently evolved feature of brain aging in humans and rhesus macaques that may alter neural networks and contribute to age-related cognitive changes.
Agopian K, Wei BL, Garcia VJ, Gabuzda D. CD4 and MHC-I downregulation are conserved in primary HIV-1 Nef alleles from brain and lymphoid tissues, but Pak2 activation is highly variable. Virology. 2007;358 (1) :119-35.Abstract
HIV-1 compartmentalization in the CNS has been demonstrated for gag, pol, and env genes. However, little is known about tissue compartmentalization of nef genes and their functional characteristics in brain. We have cloned 97 nef genes and characterized 10 Nef proteins from autopsy brain and lymphoid tissues from 2 patients with AIDS and HIV-1-associated dementia. Distinct compartmentalization of brain versus lymphoid nef genes was demonstrated within each patient. CD4 and MHC-I downregulation were conserved in all tissue-derived Nefs. However, MHC-I downregulation by brain-derived Nefs was weaker than downregulation by lymphoid-derived Nefs. The motifs KEEE- or EKEE- at the PACS-1 binding site represented brain-specific signature patterns in these 2 patients and contributed to the reduced MHC-I downregulation activity of brain-derived Nefs from these patients. Pak2 association was highly variable in Nefs from both patients. Three of 10 tissue-derived Nefs coimmunoprecipitated activated Pak2, with strong association demonstrated for only 2 Nefs. The ability of Nef to associate with activated Pak2 did not correlate with brain or lymphoid tissue origin. Nef genes from viruses isolated from brain by coculture with PBMC were not closely related to sequences amplified directly from brain tissue, suggesting that viral selection or adaptation occurred during coculture. This study of tissue-derived HIV-1 Nefs demonstrates that CD4 and MHC-I downregulation are highly conserved Nef functions, while Pak2 association is variable in late stage AIDS patients.