HIV type 1 Tat inhibits tumor necrosis factor alpha-induced repression of tumor necrosis factor receptor p55 and amplifies tumor necrosis factor alpha activity in stably tat-transfected HeLa Cells.AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2001 Aug 10; 17(12):1125-32.AR
The human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) Tat protein is a key regulatory protein in the HIV-1 replication cycle. Tat interacts with cellular transcriptional factors and cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF-alpha), and alters the expression of a variety of genes in HIV-1-infected and noninfected cells. To further elucidate the mechanisms by which HIV-1 Tat amplifies the activity of TNF-alpha, we transfected the HIV-1 tat gene into an epithelial (HeLa) cell line. We observed that Tat-expressing cells had increased NF-kappa B-dependent trans-activational activity due to enhanced NF-kappa B--DNA binding in response to TNF-alpha treatment. Tumor necrosis factor receptor (TNFR) p55 was the prominent receptor, as neutralizing antibodies to TNFR p55, but not to TNFR p75, blocked TNF-alpha-mediated NF-kappa B activation. Furthermore, tat-transfected cells were more sensitive to TNF-alpha-induced cytotoxicity and only the neutralizing antibodies to TNFR p55 completely protected the cells. To determine whether TNFR p55 was involved in amplification of cellular response to TNF-alpha by HIV-1 Tat, we investigated the effect of TNF-alpha on TNFR p55 expression in the tat-transfected cells. TNF-alpha treatment resulted in a reduction in both TNFR p55 mRNA and protein levels in the control cells but not in the tat-transfected cells as determined with Northern blot and Western blot analyses, respectively. Our results indicate that HIV-1 Tat may inhibit TNF-alpha-induced repression of TNFR p55 and thereby amplify TNF-alpha activity in these stably transfected cells.