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1.  Impact of Viral Activators and Epigenetic Regulators on HIV-1 LTRs Containing Naturally Occurring Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms 
BioMed Research International  2015;2015:320642.
Following human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) integration into host cell DNA, the viral promoter can become transcriptionally silent in the absence of appropriate signals and factors. HIV-1 gene expression is dependent on regulatory elements contained within the long terminal repeat (LTR) that drive the synthesis of viral RNAs and proteins through interaction with multiple host and viral factors. Previous studies identified single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within CCAAT/enhancer binding protein (C/EBP) site I and Sp site III (3T, C-to-T change at position 3, and 5T, C-to-T change at position 5 of the binding site, respectively, when compared to the consensus B sequence) that are low affinity binding sites and correlate with more advanced stages of HIV-1 disease. Stably transfected cell lines containing the wild type, 3T, 5T, and 3T5T LTRs were developed utilizing bone marrow progenitor, T, and monocytic cell lines to explore the LTR phenotypes associated with these genotypic changes from an integrated chromatin-based microenvironment. Results suggest that in nonexpressing cell clones LTR-driven gene expression occurs in a SNP-specific manner in response to LTR activation or treatment with trichostatin A treatment, indicating a possible cell type and SNP-specific mechanism behind the epigenetic control of LTR activation.
PMCID: PMC4299542  PMID: 25629043
2.  Effect of μ-opioid agonist DAMGO on surface CXCR4 and HIV-1 replication in TF-1 human bone marrow progenitor cells 
BMC Research Notes  2014;7(1):752.
Approximately one-third of the AIDS cases in the United States have been attributed to the use of injected drugs, frequently involving the abuse of opioids. Consequently, it is critical to address whether opioid use directly contributes to altered susceptibility to HIV-1 beyond the increased risk of exposure. Previous in vitro and in vivo studies addressing the role of μ-opioid agonists in altering levels of the co-receptor CXCR4 and subsequent HIV-1 replication have yielded contrasting results. The bone marrow is believed to be a potential anatomical sanctuary for HIV-1.
The well-characterized CD34+CD38+ human bone marrow–derived hematopoietic progenitor cell line TF-1 was used as a model to investigate the effects of the μ-opioid receptor–specific peptide DAMGO (D-Ala2,N-Me-Phe4, Gly5-ol-enkephalin) on CXCR4 expression as well as infection of undifferentiated human hematopoietic progenitor cells.
The results revealed the presence of the μ-opioid receptor-1 isoform (MOR-1) on the surface of TF-1 cells. Furthermore, immunostaining revealed that the majority of TF-1 cells co-express MOR-1 and CXCR4, and a subpopulation of these double-positive cells express the two receptors in overlapping membrane domains. Three subpopulations of TF-1 cells were categorized based on their levels of surface CXCR4 expression, defined as non-, low-, and high-expressing. Flow cytometry indicated that treatment with DAMGO resulted in a shift in the relative proportion of CXCR4+ cells to the low-expressing phenotype. This result correlated with a >3-fold reduction in replication of the X4 HIV-1 strain IIIB, indicating a role for the CXCR4 high-expression subpopulation in sustaining infection within this progenitor cell line.
These experiments provide insight into the impact of μ-opioid exposure with respect to inhibition of viral replication in this human TF-1 bone marrow progenitor cell line model.
PMCID: PMC4216373  PMID: 25338959
μ-opioid receptor (MOR-1); DAMGO; Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1); Bone marrow; CXCR4
3.  Defining Differential Genetic Signatures in CXCR4- and the CCR5-Utilizing HIV-1 Co-Linear Sequences 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e107389.
The adaptation of human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1) to an array of physiologic niches is advantaged by the plasticity of the viral genome, encoded proteins, and promoter. CXCR4-utilizing (X4) viruses preferentially, but not universally, infect CD4+ T cells, generating high levels of virus within activated HIV-1-infected T cells that can be detected in regional lymph nodes and peripheral blood. By comparison, the CCR5-utilizing (R5) viruses have a greater preference for cells of the monocyte-macrophage lineage; however, while R5 viruses also display a propensity to enter and replicate in T cells, they infect a smaller percentage of CD4+ T cells in comparison to X4 viruses. Additionally, R5 viruses have been associated with viral transmission and CNS disease and are also more prevalent during HIV-1 disease. Specific adaptive changes associated with X4 and R5 viruses were identified in co-linear viral sequences beyond the Env-V3. The in silico position-specific scoring matrix (PSSM) algorithm was used to define distinct groups of X4 and R5 sequences based solely on sequences in Env-V3. Bioinformatic tools were used to identify genetic signatures involving specific protein domains or long terminal repeat (LTR) transcription factor sites within co-linear viral protein R (Vpr), trans-activator of transcription (Tat), or LTR sequences that were preferentially associated with X4 or R5 Env-V3 sequences. A number of differential amino acid and nucleotide changes were identified across the co-linear Vpr, Tat, and LTR sequences, suggesting the presence of specific genetic signatures that preferentially associate with X4 or R5 viruses. Investigation of the genetic relatedness between X4 and R5 viruses utilizing phylogenetic analyses of complete sequences could not be used to definitively and uniquely identify groups of R5 or X4 sequences; in contrast, differences in the genetic diversities between X4 and R5 were readily identified within these co-linear sequences in HIV-1-infected patients.
PMCID: PMC4180074  PMID: 25265194
4.  Functional properties of the HIV-1 long terminal repeat containing single-nucleotide polymorphisms in Sp site III and CCAAT/enhancer binding protein site I 
Virology Journal  2014;11:92.
HIV-1 gene expression is driven by the long terminal repeat (LTR), which contains many binding sites shown to interact with an array of host and viral factors. Selective pressures within the host as well as the low fidelity of reverse transcriptase lead to changes in the relative prevalence of genetic variants within the HIV-1 genome, including the LTR, resulting in viral quasispecies that can be differentially regulated and can potentially establish niches within specific cell types and tissues.
Utilizing flow cytometry and electromobility shift assays, specific single-nucleotide sequence polymorphisms (SNPs) were shown to alter both the phenotype of LTR-driven transcription and reactivation. Additional studies also demonstrated differential loading of transcription factors to probes derived from the double-variant LTR as compared to probes from the wild type.
This study has identified specific SNPs within CCAAT/enhancer binding protein (C/EBP) site I and Sp site III (3 T, C-to-T change at position 3, and 5 T, C-to-T change at position 5 of the binding site, respectively) that alter LTR-driven gene transcription and may alter the course of viral latency and reactivation. The HIV-1 LAI LTRs containing the SNPs of interest were coupled to a plasmid encoding green fluorescent protein (GFP), and polyclonal HIV-1 LTR-GFP stable cell lines utilizing bone marrow progenitor, T, and monocytic cell lines were constructed and utilized to explore the LTR phenotype associated with these genotypic changes.
Although the 3 T and 5 T SNPs have been shown to be low-affinity binding sites, the fact that they can still result in effective HIV-1 LTR-driven gene expression, particularly within the TF-1 cell line, has suggested that the low binding site affinities associated with the 3 T C/EBP site I and 5 T Sp site III are potentially compensated for by the interaction of nuclear factor-κB with its corresponding binding sites under selected physiological and cellular conditions. Additionally, tumor necrosis factor-α and Tat can enhance basal transcription of each SNP-specific HIV-1 LTR; however, differential regulation of the LTR is both SNP- and cell type-specific.
PMCID: PMC4047001  PMID: 24886416
HIV-1 genetics; Viral transcription; Integration; Viral latency; Single-nucleotide polymorphisms; C/EBP; Sp
5.  Impact of age on markers of HIV-1 disease 
Future virology  2013;8(1):81-101.
Aging is a complicated process characterized by a progressive loss of homeostasis, which results in an increased vulnerability to multiple diseases. HIV-1-infected patients demonstrate a premature aging phenotype and develop certain age-related diseases earlier in their lifespan than what is seen in the general population. Age-related comorbidities may include the development of bone disease, metabolic disorders, neurologic impairment and immunosenescence. Age also appears to have an effect on traditional markers of HIV-1 disease progression, including CD4+ T-cell count and viral load. These effects are not only a consequence of HIV-1 infection, but in many cases, are also linked to antiretroviral therapy. This review summarizes the complex interplay between HIV-1 infection and aging, and the impact that aging has on markers of HIV-1 disease.
PMCID: PMC3625689  PMID: 23596462
aging; comorbidities; disease progression; HIV-1; neurocognitive impairment
6.  Role of mu-opioids as cofactors in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 disease progression and neuropathogenesis 
Journal of neurovirology  2011;17(4):291-302.
About one third of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome cases in the USA have been attributed to the use of injected addictive drugs, frequently involving opioids like heroin and morphine, establishing them as significant predisposing risk factors for contracting human immuno-deficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). Accumulating evidence from in vitro and in vivo experimental systems indicates that opioids act in concert with HIV-1 proteins to exacerbate dysregulation of neural and immune cell function and survival through diverse molecular mechanisms. In contrast, the impact of opioid exposure and withdrawal on the viral life cycle and HIV-1 disease progression itself is unclear, with conflicting reports emerging from the simian immunodeficiency virus and simian–human immunodeficiency virus infection models. However, these studies suggest a potential role of opioids in elevated viral production. Because human microglia, astrocytes, CD4+ T lymphocytes, and monocyte-derived macrophages express opioid receptors, it is likely that intracellular signaling events triggered by morphine facilitate enhancement of HIV-1 infection in these target cell populations. This review highlights the biochemical changes that accompany prolonged exposure to and withdrawal from morphine that synergize with HIV-1 proteins to disrupt normal cellular physiological functions especially within the central nervous system. More importantly, it collates evidence from epidemiological studies, animal models, and heterologous cell systems to propose a mechanistic link between such physiological adaptations and direct modulation of HIV-1 production. Understanding the opioid–HIV-1 interface at the molecular level is vitally important in designing better treatment strategies for HIV-1-infected patients who abuse opioids.
PMCID: PMC3757547  PMID: 21735315
Opioids; HIV-1; Cyclic AMP (cAMP)
7.  Substance abuse, HIV-1 and hepatitis 
Current HIV research  2012;10(7):557-571.
During the course of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) disease, the virus has been shown to effectively escape the immune response with the subsequent establishment of latent viral reservoirs in specific cell populations within the peripheral blood (PB) and associated lymphoid tissues, bone marrow (BM), brain, and potentially other end organs. HIV-1, along with hepatitis B and C viruses (HBV and HCV), are known to share similar routes of transmission, including intravenous drug use, blood transfusions, sexual intercourse, and perinatal exposure. Substance abuse, including the use of opioids and cocaine, is a significant risk factor for exposure to HIV-1 and the development of acquired immune deficiency syndrome, as well as HBV and HCV exposure, infection, and disease. Thus, coinfection with HIV-1 and HBV or HCV is common and may be impacted by chronic substance abuse during the course of disease. HIV-1 impacts the natural course of HBV and HCV infection by accelerating the progression of HBV/HCV-associated liver disease toward end-stage cirrhosis and quantitative depletion of the CD4+ T-cell compartment. HBV or HCV coinfection with HIV-1 is also associated with increased mortality when compared to either infection alone. This review focuses on the impact of substance abuse and coinfection with HBV and HCV in the PB, BM, and brain on the HIV-1 pathogenic process as it relates to viral pathogenesis, disease progression, and the associated immune response during the course of this complex interplay. The impact of HIV-1 and substance abuse on hepatitis virus-induced disease is also a focal point.
PMCID: PMC3708479  PMID: 22973853
bone marrow; brain; cocaine; HBV; HCV; HIV-1; opioids
8.  Introducing metallocene into a triazole peptide conjugate reduces its off-rate and enhances its affinity and antiviral potency for HIV-1 gp120 
In this work, we identified a high affinity and potency metallocene-containing triazole peptide conjugate that suppresses the interactions of HIV-1 envelope gp120 at both its CD4 and co-receptor binding sites. The ferrocene-peptide conjugate, HNG-156, was formed by an on-resin copper-catalysed [2 + 3] cycloaddition reaction. Surface plasmon resonance interaction analysis revealed that, compared to a previously reported phenyl-containing triazole conjugate HNG-105 (105), peptide 156 had a higher direct binding affinity for several subtypes of HIV-1 gp120 due mainly to the decreased dissociation rate of the conjugate-gp120 complex. The ferrocene triazole conjugate bound to gp120 of both clade A (92UG037-08) and clade B (YU-2 and SF162) virus subtypes with nanomolar KD in direct binding and inhibited the binding of gp120 to soluble CD4 and to antibodies that bind to HIV-1YU-2 gp120 at both the CD4 binding site and CD4-induced binding sites. HNG-156 showed a close-to nanomolar IC50 for inhibiting cell infection by HIV-1BaL whole virus. The dual receptor site antagonist activity and potency of HNG-156 make it a promising viral envelope inhibitor lead for developing anti-HIV-1 treatments.
PMCID: PMC3652662  PMID: 18498083
HIV-1 gp120; entry inhibitors; peptide triazoles; surface plasmon resonance; cell infection
9.  Antiviral Breadth and Combination Potential of Peptide Triazole HIV-1 Entry Inhibitors 
The first stage of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection involves the fusion of viral and host cellular membranes mediated by viral envelope glycoprotein gp120. Inhibitors that specifically target gp120 are gaining increased attention as therapeutics or preventatives to prevent the spread of HIV-1. One promising new group of inhibitors is the peptide triazoles, which bind to gp120 and simultaneously block its interaction with both CD4 and the coreceptor. In this study, we assessed the most potent peptide triazole, HNG-156, for inhibitory breadth, cytotoxicity, and efficacy, both alone and in combination with other antiviral compounds, against HIV-1. HNG-156 inhibited a panel of 16 subtype B and C isolates of HIV-1 in a single-round infection assay. Inhibition of cell infection by replication-competent clinical isolates of HIV-1 was also observed with HNG-156. We found that HNG-156 had a greater than predicted effect when combined with several other entry inhibitors or the reverse transcriptase inhibitor tenofovir. Overall, we find that HNG-156 is noncytotoxic, has a broad inhibition profile, and provides a positive combination with several inhibitors of the HIV-1 life cycle. These results support the pursuit of efficacy and toxicity analyses in more advanced cell and animal models to develop peptide triazole family inhibitors of HIV-1 into antagonists of HIV-1 infection.
PMCID: PMC3264272  PMID: 22083481
10.  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.
PMCID: PMC3414192  PMID: 22899925
11.  Breaking Down the Barrier: The effects of HIV-1 on the Blood-Brain Barrier 
Brain research  2011;1399:96-115.
Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) primarily infects CD4+ T cells and cells of the monocyte-macrophage lineage, resulting in immunodeficiency in an infected patient. Along with this immune deficiency, HIV-1 has been linked to a number of neurological symptoms in the absence of opportunistic infections or other co-morbidities, suggesting that HIV-1 is able to cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB), enter the central nervous system (CNS), and cause neurocognitive impairment. HIV-1-infected monocyte-macrophages traverse the BBB and enter the CNS throughout the course of HIV-1 disease. Once in the brain, both free virus and virus-infected cells are able to infect neighboring resident microglia and astrocytes and possibly other cell types. HIV-1-infected cells in both the periphery and the CNS give rise to elevated levels of viral proteins, including gp120, Tat, and Nef, and of host inflammatory mediators such as cytokines and chemokines. It has been shown that the viral proteins may act alone or in concert with host cytokines and chemokines, affecting the integrity of the BBB. The pathological end point of these interactions may facilitate a positive feedback loop resulting in increased penetration of HIV into the CNS. It is proposed in this review that the dysregulation of the BBB during and after neuroinvasion is a critical component of the neuropathogenic process and that dysregulation of this protective barrier is caused by a combination of viral and host factors including secreted viral proteins, components of the inflammatory process, the aging process, therapeutics, and drug or alcohol abuse.
PMCID: PMC3139430  PMID: 21641584
HIV; blood-brain barrier; Tat; Nef; gp120; drugs of abuse
12.  Transcriptional regulation of the chemokine co-receptor CCR5 by the cAMP/PKA/CREB pathway 
The cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP)-dependent signaling pathway directs the expression of several genes involved in diverse neuroendocrine, immune, metabolic, and developmental pathways. The primary effectors of this pathway are members of the cAMP response element binding (CREB) family of transcription factors, in particular the CREB-1 and cAMP response element modulator (CREM). Both these genes encode alternative splice variants that serve as activators or repressors in a context- and position-specific manner. Although the β- chemokine receptor CC chemokine receptor 5 (CCR5) has been identified on progenitor cells in the bone marrow, the regulatory mechanisms orchestrating its expression are not fully understood. Previous reports have identified putative cAMP response elements in the CCR5 promoter and have described a suppressive role of cAMP in CCR5 expression. In this study, the CD34+CD4+CCR5+ human bone marrow progenitor cell line TF-1 was used to investigate the detailed kinetics of CCR5 transcription in response to the elevation of intracellular cAMP levels and the underlying molecular events. We hypothesize that CCR5 transcription follows an asymmetrical sinusoidal pattern in TF-1 cells that parallels a protein kinase A-dependent alternating change in the ratio of activator pCREB-1-α,Δ to repressor pCREM-α,β isoforms. However, elevated CCR5 mRNA levels do not correlate with enhancement in infectivity with respect to the R5 human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) strain. Our results lend critical insight into the precise mechanism governing the cAMP-CCR5 axis in progenitor cells and pose interesting questions regarding its functional role in HIV-1 infection.
PMCID: PMC3150495  PMID: 21719243
13.  Application and removal of polyanionic microbicide compounds enhances subsequent infection by HIV-1 
Virology Journal  2012;9:33.
Continued efforts are being directed toward the development of microbicides that will be used to reduce or eliminate the risk of HIV-1 sexual transmission. Unfortunately, clinical trials involving polyanion-containing microbicide formulations, including Carraguard (λ-carrageenan [LC]) and Ushercell (cellulose sulfate [CS]) demonstrated that these products were ineffective and may have, in some circumstances, increased the risk of HIV-1 infection. These findings prompted reassessments of the in vitro activities of these agents to determine whether variables that can affect agent safety and efficacy had been overlooked during preclinical testing. One such variable is product retention and loss following topical application.
In the present studies involving an HIV-1-susceptible cell line and primary human immune cells, product loss was mimicked by introducing and then removing polyanionic compounds prior to HIV-1 infection. In these in vitro "washout" experiments, LC and CS significantly enhanced HIV-1 infection, despite potent antiviral activity when introduced simultaneously with the virus. The presence and magnitude of this effect were dependent on compound identity and concentration; target cell; interval between compound removal and virus challenge; and coreceptor usage. Levels of enhancement (relative to controls) were considerable, exceeding a 200% increase (CS) in P4-R5 MAGI cells and a 300% increase (LC) in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells.
These studies, which demonstrate significant increases in HIV-1 infection subsequent to application and removal of LC and CS, support plausible explanations for the failures of microbicides formulated from these compounds. Detailed studies are now underway to determine the mechanism responsible for this enhancement effect and to assess the potential contribution of this effect to the clinical failures of these agents.
PMCID: PMC3295645  PMID: 22281044
AIDS; HIV-1; Microbicide; Polyanion; Carrageenan; Cellulose sulfate; Enhancement
14.  Combinatorial Approaches to the Prevention and Treatment of HIV-1 Infection▿† 
The discovery of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) in 1982 soon led to the identification and development of antiviral compounds to be used in treatment strategies for infected patients. Early in the epidemic, drug monotherapies frequently led to treatment failures because the virus quickly developed resistance to the single drug. Following the advent of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in 1995, dramatic improvements in HIV-1-infected patient health and survival were realized as more refined combination therapies resulted in reductions in viral loads and increases in CD4+ T-cell counts. In the absence of an effective vaccine, prevention of HIV-1 infection has also gained traction as an approach to curbing the pandemic. The development of compounds as safe and effective microbicides has intensified and has focused on blocking the transmission of HIV-1 during all forms of sexual intercourse. Initial preclinical investigations and clinical trials of microbicides focused on single compounds effective against HIV-1. However, the remarkable successes achieved using combination therapy to treat systemic HIV-1 infection have subsequently stimulated the study and development of combination microbicides that will simultaneously inhibit multiple aspects of the HIV-1 transmission process by targeting incoming viral particles, virus-infected cells, and cells susceptible to HIV-1 infection. This review focuses on existing and developing combination therapies, covering preclinical development, in vitro and in vivo efficacy studies, and subsequent clinical trials. The shift in focus within the microbicide development field from single compounds to combination approaches is also explored.
PMCID: PMC3088245  PMID: 21343462
15.  Cervicovaginal Safety of the Formulated, Biguanide-Based Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 (HIV-1) Inhibitor NB325 in a Murine Model 
Vaginal microbicides that reduce or eliminate the risk of HIV-1 sexual transmission must do so safely without adversely affecting the integrity of the cervicovaginal epithelium. The present studies were performed to assess the safety of the biguanide-based antiviral compound NB325 in a formulation suitable for topical application. Experiments were performed using a mouse model of cervicovaginal microbicide application, which was previously shown to be predictive of topical agent toxicity revealed in microbicide clinical trials. Mice were exposed vaginally to unformulated NB325 or NB325 formulated in the hydroxyethyl cellulose “universal placebo.” Following exposures to formulated 1% NB325 for 10 min to 24 h, the vaginal and cervical epithelia were generally intact, although some areas of minimal vaginal epithelial damage were noted. Although formulated NB325 appeared generally safe for application in these studies, the low but observable level of toxicity suggests the need for improvements in the compound and/or formulation.
PMCID: PMC3202145  PMID: 22131821
16.  Innate and Adaptive Factors Regulating Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Genomic Activation 
Over the past decade, antiretroviral therapy targeting the viral entry process, reverse transcriptase, integrase, and protease, has prolonged the lives of people infected with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). However, despite the development of more effective therapeutic strategies, reservoirs of viral infection remain. This review discusses molecular mechanisms surrounding the development of latency from the site of integration to pre- and post-integration maintenance of latency, including epigenetic factors. In addition, an overview of innate and adaptive cells important to HIV-1 infection are examined from the viewpoint of cytokines released and cytokines that act on these cells to explore an overall understanding of HIV-1 proviral genome activation. Finally, this review is discussed from the viewpoint of how an understanding of the interplay of all of these factors will help guide the next generation of therapies.
PMCID: PMC3057210  PMID: 20387125
HIV-1; transcription; latency; immune factors
17.  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.
PMCID: PMC3057211  PMID: 21225391
18.  Persistent Interactions between Biguanide-Based Compound NB325 and CXCR4 Result in Prolonged Inhibition of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Infection ▿  
We previously demonstrated that the biguanide-based compound NB325 inhibits human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection by interacting with the CXCR4 viral coreceptor. This interaction also appeared to be persistent, since HIV-1 infection was inhibited even when the virus was introduced subsequent to the removal of NB325 from the cell culture medium. The present studies were conducted to determine the extent and mechanism of this prolonged antiviral activity. Persistent inhibition of HIV-1 infection by NB325 was concentration dependent and was apparent up to 8 h after removal of the compound. Flow cytometric analyses of stimulated CD4+ T lymphocytes exposed to NB325 demonstrated concentration-dependent reductions in CXCR4 extracellular loop 2 epitope recognition that were maintained up to 24 h after removal of the compound. CXCL12-induced chemotaxis was also persistently inhibited following pre-exposure to NB325. These results demonstrate that persistent inhibition of X4 HIV-1 infection by NB325 involves extended perturbation of the viral coreceptor CXCR4.
PMCID: PMC2863618  PMID: 20231400
19.  Structural Determinants for Affinity Enhancement of a Dual Antagonist Peptide Entry Inhibitor of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type-1 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2008;51(9):2638-2647.
Structure-activity correlations were investigated for substituted peptide conjugates that function as dual receptor site antagonists of HIV-1 gp120. A series of peptide conjugates were constructed via click reaction of both aryl and alkyl acetylenes with an internally-incorporated azidoproline 6 derived from the parent peptide 1 (12p1, RINNIPWSEAMM). Compared to 1, many of these conjugates were found to exhibit several orders of magnitude increase in both affinity for HIV-1 gp120 and inhibition potencies at both the CD4 and co-receptor binding sites of gp120. We sought to determine structural factors in the added triazole grouping responsible for the increased binding affinity and antiviral activity of the dual inhibitor conjugates. We measured peptide conjugate potencies in both kinetic and cell infection assays. High affinity was sterically specific, being exhibited by the cis but not the trans triazole. The results demonstrate that aromatic, hydrophobic and steric features in the residue 6 side-chain are important for increased affinity and inhibition. Optimizing these features provides a basis for developing gp120 dual inhibitors into peptidomimetic and increasingly smaller molecular weight entry antagonist leads.
PMCID: PMC2921370  PMID: 18402432
20.  A Styrene-alt-Maleic Acid Copolymer Is an Effective Inhibitor of R5 and X4 Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Infection 
An alternating copolymer of styrene and maleic acid (alt-PSMA) differs from other polyanionic antiviral agents in that the negative charges of alt-PSMA are provided by carboxylic acid groups instead of sulfate or sulfonate moieties. We hypothesized that alt-PSMA would have activity against human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) comparable to other polyanions, such as the related compound, poly(sodium 4-styrene sulfonate) (PSS). In assays using cell lines and primary immune cells, alt-PSMA was characterized by low cytotoxicity and effective inhibition of infection by HIV-1 BaL and IIIB as well as clinical isolates of subtypes A, B, and C. In mechanism of action assays, in which each compound was added to cells and subsequently removed prior to HIV-1 infection (“washout” assay), alt-PSMA caused no enhancement of infection, while PSS washout increased infection 70% above control levels. These studies demonstrate that alt-PSMA is an effective HIV-1 inhibitor with properties that warrant further investigation.
PMCID: PMC2879553  PMID: 20589074
21.  Molecular Mechanisms of Neurodegenerative Diseases Induced by Human Retroviruses: A Review 
Problem statement
Infection with retroviruses such as human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and human T cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) have been shown to lead to neurodegenerative diseases such as HIV-associated dementia (HAD) or neuroAIDS and HTLV-1-Associated Myelopathy/Tropical Spastic Paraparesis (HAM/TSP), respectively.
HIV-1-induced neurologic disease is associated with an influx of HIV-infected monocytic cells across the blood-brain barrier. Following neuroinvasion, HIV-1 and viral proteins, in addition to cellular mediators released from infected and uninfected cells participate in astrocytic and neuronal dysregulation, leading to mild to severe neurocognitive disorders.
The molecular architecture of viral regulatory components including the Long Terminal Repeat (LTR), genes encoding the viral proteins Tat, Vpr and Nef as well as the envelope gene encoding gp120 and gp41 have been implicated in ‘indirect’ mechanisms of neuronal injury, mechanisms which are likely responsible for the majority of CNS damage induced by HIV-1 infection. The neuropathogenesis of HAM/TSP is linked, in part, with both intra-and extracellular effectors functions of the viral transactivator protein Tax and likely other viral proteins. Tax is traditionally known to localize in the nucleus of infected cells serving as a regulator of both viral and cellular gene expression.
However, recent evidence has suggested that Tax may also accumulate in the cytoplasm and be released from the infected cell through regulated cellular secretion processes. Once in the extracellular environment, Tax may cause functional alterations in cells of the peripheral blood, lymphoid organs and the central nervous system. These extracellular biological activities of Tax are likely very relevant to the neuropathogenesis of HTLV-1 and represent attractive targets for therapeutic intervention.
PMCID: PMC2845477  PMID: 20352020
HIV-1; HTLV-1; neuropathogenesis; viral proteins
22.  Specific Interactions between the Viral Coreceptor CXCR4 and the Biguanide-Based Compound NB325 Mediate Inhibition of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Infection▿  
The present studies were conducted to better define the mechanism of action of polyethylene hexamethylene biguanide (PEHMB) (designated herein as NB325), which was shown in previous studies to inhibit infection by the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). Fluorescence-activated flow cytometric analyses of activated human CD4+ T lymphocytes exposed to NB325 demonstrated concentration-dependent reductions in CXCR4 epitope recognition in the absence of altered recognition of selected CD4 or CD3 epitopes. NB325 also inhibited chemotaxis of CD4+ T lymphocytes induced by the CXCR4 ligand CXCL12. However, NB325 did not cause CXCR4 internalization (unlike CXCL12) and did not interfere with CXCL12 binding. Additional flow cytometric analyses using antibodies with distinct specificities for extracellular domains of CXCR4 demonstrated that NB325 specifically interfered with antibody binding to extracellular loop 2 (ECL2). This interaction was confirmed using competitive binding analyses, in which a peptide derived from CXCR4 ECL2 competitively inhibited NB325-mediated reductions in CXCR4 epitope recognition. Collectively, these results demonstrate that the biguanide-based compound NB325 inhibits HIV-1 infection by specifically interacting with the HIV-1 coreceptor CXCR4.
PMCID: PMC2630669  PMID: 19047650

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