Inhibitory effect of HIV-1 Tat protein on the sodium-D-glucose symporter of human intestinal epithelial cells

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Objective:The pathophysiology of HIV-1-related intestinal dysfunction is largely unknown. We previously found that the transactivator factor peptide (Tat) produced by HIV-1 induces ion secretion and inhibits cell proliferation in human enterocytes. Because sugar malabsorption is a frequent feature in AIDS patients, we evaluated whether Tat inhibits intestinal glucose absorption.Design and methods:We measured Na+-D-glucose symporter (SGLT-1) activity and determined its phenotypic expression in Caco-2 cells, in the presence and absence of Tat, in uptake experiments using a non-metabolized radiolabelled glucose analogue, and by western blot analysis, respectively. α-Tubulin staining was used to study the effects exerted by Tat on cell structure.Results:Tat dose dependently inhibited glucose uptake by human enterocytes. This effect was prevented by anti-Tat polyclonal antibodies and by L-type Ca2+ channels agonist Bay K8644. Western blot analysis of cellular lysates and brush-border membrane preparations showed that Tat induced SGLT-1 missorting. Tat also caused a dramatic decrease in α-tubulin staining, which indicates dysruption of the cytoskeleton organization.Conclusions:Tat acutely impairs intestinal glucose absorption through SGLT-1 missorting. This result indicates that Tat is directly involved in AIDS-associated intestinal dysfunction.

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