HIV-1 Nef is transferred from expressing T cells to hepatocytic cells through conduits and enhances HCV replication

In Woo Park, Yan Fan, Xiaoyu Luo, Myoung Gwi Ryou, Jinfeng Liu, Linden Green, Johnny J. He

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22 Scopus citations


HIV-1 infection enhances HCV replication and as a consequence accelerates HCV-mediated hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, the precise molecular mechanism by which this takes place is currently unknown. Our data showed that infectious HIV-1 failed to replicate in human hepatocytic cell lines. No discernible virus replication was observed, even when the cell lines transfected with HIV-1 proviral DNA were co-cultured with Jurkat T cells, indicating that the problem of liver deterioration in the co-infected patient is not due to the replication of HIV-1 in the hepatocytes of the HCV infected host. Instead, HIV-1 Nef protein was transferred from nef-expressing T cells to hepatocytic cells through conduits, wherein up to 16% (average 10%) of the cells harbored the transferred Nef, when the hepatocytic cells were co-cultured with nefexpressing Jurkat cells for 24 h. Further, Nef altered the size and numbers of lipid droplets (LD), and consistently upregulated HCV replication by 1.5∼2.5 fold in the target subgenomic replicon cells, which is remarkable in relation to the initially indolent viral replication. Nef also dramatically augmented reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and enhanced ethanol-mediated up-regulation of HCV replication so as to accelerate HCC. Taken together, these data indicate that HIV-1 Nef is a critical element in accelerating progression of liver pathogenesis via enhancing HCV replication and coordinating modulation of key intra- and extra-cellular molecules for liver decay.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere99545
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number6
StatePublished - 9 Jun 2014


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