Human TRIM5α Expression Levels and Reduced Susceptibility to HIV-1 Infection

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Human TRIM5α (TRIM5αhu), a member of the tripartite motif protein family, displays some anti-human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) activity in vitro, although it is substantially less potent than its rhesus monkey counterpart (TRIM5αrh). The effects of levels of TRIM5αhu on prevention or control of HIV-1 infection in vivo are unknown.


We used a quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay to measure levels of TRIM5αhu expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) obtained from a cohort of individuals at high risk for HIV-1 infection in Durban, South Africa. Samples were available from 38 infected subjects (with all these samples obtained within 1 year of infection) and from 57 uninfected persons. Matched preinfection and postinfection samples were available from 13 individuals.


TRIM5αhu messenger RNA levels were lower in the PBMCs of HIV-1-infected subjects than in those of uninfected subjects (P<.001). Seroconverters had lower preinfection levels of TRIM5αhu than did nonseroconverters (P<.001). TRIM5αhu levels did not change significantly after infection. There was no correlation between TRIM5αhu levels and viral loads or CD4+ T cell counts.


High expression of TRIM5αhu is associated with reduced susceptibility to HIV-1 infection. Furthermore, infection is not associated with disregulation of TRIM5αhu. TRIM5αhu expression levels do not contribute to the control of primary HIV-1 viremia.

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