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1.  Glances in Immunology of HIV and HCV Infection 
Advances in Virology  2012;2012:434036.
Since the identification of HIV and HCV much progress has been made in the understanding of their life cycle and interaction with the host immune system. Despite these viruses markedly differ in their virological properties and in their pathogenesis, they share many common features in their immune escape and survival strategy. Both viruses have developed sophisticated ways to subvert and antagonize host innate and adaptive immune responses. In the last years, much effort has been done in the study of the AIDS pathogenesis and in the development of efficient treatment strategies, and a fatal infection has been transformed in a potentially chronic pathology. Much of this knowledge is now being transferred in the HCV research field, especially in the development of new drugs, although a big difference still remains between the outcome of the two infections, being HCV eradicable after treatment, whereas HIV eradication remains at present unachievable due to the establishment of reservoirs. In this review, we present current knowledge on innate and adaptive immune recognition and activation during HIV and HCV mono-infections and evasion strategies. We also discuss the genetic associations between components of the immune system, the course of infection, and the outcome of the therapies.
PMCID: PMC3375159  PMID: 22754568
2.  Exogenous HIV-1 Nef Upsets the IFN-γ-Induced Impairment of Human Intestinal Epithelial Integrity 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(8):e23442.
The mucosal tissues play a central role in the transmission of HIV-1 infection as well as in the pathogenesis of AIDS. Despite several clinical studies reported intestinal dysfunction during HIV infection, the mechanisms underlying HIV-induced impairments of mucosal epithelial barrier are still unclear. It has been postulated that HIV-1 alters enterocytic function and HIV-1 proteins have been detected in several cell types of the intestinal mucosa. In the present study, we analyzed the effect of the accessory HIV-1 Nef protein on human epithelial cell line.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We used unstimulated or IFN-γ-stimulated Caco-2 cells, as a model for homeostatic and inflamed gastrointestinal tracts, respectively. We investigated the effect of exogenous recombinant Nef on monolayer integrity analyzing its uptake, transepithelial electrical resistance, permeability to FITC-dextran and the expression of tight junction proteins. Moreover, we measured the induction of proinflammatory mediators. Exogenous Nef was taken up by Caco-2 cells, increased intestinal epithelial permeability and upset the IFN-γ-induced reduction of transepitelial resistance, interfering with tight junction protein expression. Moreover, Nef inhibited IFN-γ-induced apoptosis and up-regulated TNF-α, IL-6 and MIP-3α production by Caco-2 cells while down-regulated IL-10 production. The simultaneous exposure of Caco-2 cells to Nef and IFN-γ did not affect cytokine secretion respect to untreated cells. Finally, we found that Nef counteracted the IFN-γ induced arachidonic acid cascade.
Our findings suggest that exogenous Nef, perturbing the IFN-γ-induced impairment of intestinal epithelial cells, could prolong cell survival, thus allowing for accumulation of viral particles. Our results may improve the understanding of AIDS pathogenesis, supporting the discovery of new therapeutic interventions.
PMCID: PMC3152569  PMID: 21858117
3.  Cytotoxic Necrotizing Factor 1 Prevents Apoptosis via the Akt/IκB Kinase Pathway: Role of Nuclear Factor-κB and Bcl-2 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2007;18(7):2735-2744.
Cytotoxic necrotizing factor 1 (CNF1) is a protein toxin produced by some pathogenic strains of Escherichia coli that specifically activates Rho, Rac, and Cdc42 GTPases. We previously reported that this toxin prevents the ultraviolet-B–induced apoptosis in epithelial cells, with a mechanism that remained to be defined. In this work, we show that the proteasomal degradation of the Rho GTPase is necessary to achieve cell death protection, because inhibition of Rho degradation abolishes the prosurvival activity of CNF1. We hypothesize that Rho inactivation allows the activity of Rac to become dominant. This in turn leads to stimulation of the phosphoinositide 3-kinase/Akt/IκB kinase/nuclear factor-κB prosurvival pathway and to a remarkable modification in the architecture of the mitochondrial network, mainly consisting in the appearance of elongated and interconnected mitochondria. Importantly, we found that Bcl-2 silencing reduces the ability of CNF1 to protect cells against apoptosis and that it also prevents the CNF1-induced mitochondrial changes. It is worth noting that the ability of a bacterial toxin to induce such a remodeling of the mitochondrial network is herein reported for the first time. The possible pathophysiological relevance of this finding is discussed.
PMCID: PMC1924812  PMID: 17507655
4.  Cytotoxic Necrotizing Factor 1 Enhances Reactive Oxygen Species-Dependent Transcription and Secretion of Proinflammatory Cytokines in Human Uroepithelial Cells  
Infection and Immunity  2003;71(7):4178-4181.
Uropathogenic Escherichia coli strains frequently produce a Rho-activating protein toxin named cytotoxic necrotizing factor type 1 (CNF1). We herein report that CNF1 promotes transcription and release of tumor necrosis factor alpha, gamma interferon, interleukin-6 (IL-6), and IL-8 proinflammatory cytokines and increases the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in uroepithelial T24 cells. The antioxidant N-acetyl-l-cysteine counteracts these phenomena, a fact which suggests a role for ROS-mediated signaling in CNF1-induced proinflammatory cytokine production.
PMCID: PMC162030  PMID: 12819113

Results 1-4 (4)