Journal article

Role of retroviral restriction factors in the interferon- -mediated suppression of HIV-1 in vivo

The antiviral potency of the cytokine IFN-α has been long appreciated but remains poorly understood. A number of studies have suggested that induction of the apolipoprotein B mRNA editing enzyme, catalytic polypeptide 3 (APOBEC3) and bone marrow stromal cell antigen 2 (BST-2/tetherin/CD317) retroviral restriction factors underlies the IFN-α-mediated suppression of HIV-1 replication in vitro.Wesought to characterize the as-yet- undefinedrelationship between IFN-α treatment, retroviral restriction factors, and HIV-1 in vivo. APOBEC3G, APOBEC3F, and BST-2 expression levels were measured in HIV/hepatitis C virus (HCV)-coinfected, antiretroviral therapy-naïve individuals before, during, and after pegylated IFN-α/ribavirin (IFN-α/riba) combination therapy. IFN-α/riba therapy decreased HIV-1 viral load by -0.921 (±0.858) log 10copies/mL in HIV/HCV-coinfected patients.APOBEC3G/3F andBST-2mRNAexpression was significantly elevated during IFN-á/riba treatment in patient-derived CD4+ T cells (P < 0.04 and P < 0.008, paired Wilcoxon), and extent of BST-2 induction was correlated with reduction in HIV-1 viral load during treatment (P < 0.05, Pearson's r). APOBEC3 induction during treatment was correlated with degree of viral hypermutation (P < 0.03, Spearman's ρ), and evolution of the HIV-1 accessory protein viral protein U (Vpu) during IFN-α/riba treatment was suggestive of increased BST-2-mediated selection pressure. These data suggest that host restriction factors play a critical role in the antiretroviral capacity of IFN-α in vivo, and warrant investigation into therapeutic strategies that specifically enhance the expression of these intrinsic immune factors in HIV-1-infected individuals.


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