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1.  Modeling Bone Marrow Progenitor Cell Differentiation and Susceptibility to HIV-1 Infection 
MOJ immunology  2014;1(2):00009.
Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection of the monocytic lineage is involved in the pathologic events associated with AIDS and HIV-1-associated dementia (HAD). Hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs) within the bone marrow are refractile to HIV-1 infection, while their progeny of the monocyte-macrophage lineage are susceptible. Previous studies, using phorbol-myristate-acetate (PMA) as a differentiating agent, have suggested that the CD34+/CD38+ TF-1 cell line may be used as one model to study the differentiation processes of HPCs. In the present study, medium that has been conditioned by PMA-treated TF-1 cells but is devoid of any traces of PMA, was utilized to induce differentiation of TF-1 cells. The conditioned medium (CM) from this bone marrow-derived cell population is enriched with respect to numerous cytokines and induces differentiation and activation of TF-1 cells, as indicated by changes in the expression of CD34, CD38, and CD69 cell surface molecules. Furthermore, treatment with CM was also shown to induce the expression of CCR5 and CXCR4, while maintaining the expression of CD4, which was ultimately correlated with increased susceptibility to HIV-1. Additionally, the activation of the TF-1 cells was shown to lead to increased LTR activity, with specificity protein (Sp) and nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells) NF-κB factors playing a crucial role in HIV-1 long terminal repeat (LTR)-mediated transcription and possibly overall TF-1 permissivity. Interleukin (IL)-1β, which is elevated in the CM, recapitulates some of the CM effects. In summary, these studies suggest that the TF-1 cell line could serve as a model to study the susceptibility of bone marrow progenitor cells to HIV-1 infection.
doi:10.15406/moji.2014.01.00009
PMCID: PMC4517689  PMID: 26229980
TF-1; Monocyte; Conditioned medium; IL-1β; CD34; CD38
2.  Impact of Tat Genetic Variation on HIV-1 Disease 
Advances in Virology  2012;2012:123605.
The human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) promoter or long-terminal repeat (LTR) regulates viral gene expression by interacting with multiple viral and host factors. The viral transactivator protein Tat plays an important role in transcriptional activation of HIV-1 gene expression. Functional domains of Tat and its interaction with transactivation response element RNA and cellular transcription factors have been examined. Genetic variation within tat of different HIV-1 subtypes has been shown to affect the interaction of the viral transactivator with cellular and/or viral proteins, influencing the overall level of transcriptional activation as well as its action as a neurotoxic protein. Consequently, the genetic variability within tat may impact the molecular architecture of functional domains of the Tat protein that may impact HIV pathogenesis and disease. Tat as a therapeutic target for anti-HIV drugs has also been discussed.
doi:10.1155/2012/123605
PMCID: PMC3414192  PMID: 22899925
3.  Structural and functional studies of CCAAT/enhancer binding sites within the human immunodeficiency type 1 subtype C LTR 
Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) subtype C, which is most predominant in sub-Saharan Africa as well as in Asia and India, is the most prevalent subtype worldwide. A large number of transcription factor families have been shown to be involved in regulating HIV-1 gene expression in T lymphocytes and cells of the monocyte-macrophage lineage. Among these, proteins of the CCAAT/enhancer binding protein (C/EBP) family are of particular importance in regulating HIV-1 gene expression within cells of the monocytic lineage during the course of hematologic development and cellular activation. Few studies have examined the role of C/EBPs in long terminal repeat (LTR)-directed viral gene expression of HIV-1 subtypes other than subtype B. Within subtype B viruses, two functional C/EBP sites located upstream of the TATA box are required for efficient viral replication in cells of the monocyte-macrophage lineage. We report the identification of three putative subtype C C/EBP sites, upstream site 1 and 2 (C-US1 and C-US2) and downstream site 1 (C-DS1). C-US1 and C-DS1 were shown to form specific DNA-protein complexes with members of the C/EBP family (C/EBPα, β, and δ). Functionally, within the U-937 monocytic cell line, subtype B and C LTRs were shown to be equally responsive to C/EBPβ-2, although the basal activity of subtype C LTRs appeared to be higher. Furthermore, the synergistic interaction between C/EBPβ-2 and Tat with the subtype C LTR was also observed in U-937 cells as previously demonstrated with the subtype B LTR.
doi:10.1016/j.biopha.2010.09.007
PMCID: PMC2998390  PMID: 20970301
C/EBPβ; HIV-1; Subtype C; LTR; Transcription
4.  Development of co-selected single nucleotide polymorphisms in the viral promoter precedes the onset of human immunodeficiency virus type 1-associated neurocognitive impairment 
Journal of neurovirology  2011;17(1):92-109.
The long terminal repeat (LTR) regulates gene expression of HIV-1 by interacting with multiple host and viral factors. Cross-sectional studies in the pre-HAART era demonstrated that single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in peripheral blood-derived LTRs (a C-to-T change at position 3 of C/EBP site I (3T) and at position 5 of Sp site III (5T)) increased in frequency as disease severity increased. Additionally, the 3T variant correlated with HIV-1-associated dementia. LTR sequences derived by longitudinal sampling of peripheral blood from a single patient in the DrexelMed HIV/AIDS Genetic Analysis Cohort resulted in the detection of the 3T and 5T co-selected SNPs before the onset of neurologic impairment, demonstrating that these SNPs may be useful in predicting HIV-associated neurological complications. The relative fitness of the LTRs containing the 3T and/or 5T co-selected SNPs as they evolve in their native patient-derived LTR backbone structure demonstrated a spectrum of basal and Tat-mediated transcriptional activities using the IIIB-derived Tat and colinear Tat derived from the same molecular clone containing the 3T/5T LTR SNP. In silico predictions utilizing colinear envelope sequence suggested that the patient’s virus evolved from an X4 to an R5 swarm prior to the development of neurological complications and more advanced HIV disease. These results suggest that the HIV-1 genomic swarm may evolve during the course of disease in response to selective pressures that lead to changes in prevalence of specific polymorphisms in the LTR, env, and/or tat that could predict the onset of neurological disease and result in alterations in viral function.
doi:10.1007/s13365-010-0014-1
PMCID: PMC3057211  PMID: 21225391
HIV-1; SNP; HAND; LTR; Env

Results 1-4 (4)