Interplay between HIV-1 infection and host microRNAs

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Abstract

Using microRNA array analyses of in vitro HIV-1-infected CD4+ cells, we find that several host microRNAs are significantly up- or downregulated around the time HIV-1 infection peaks in vitro. While microRNA-223 levels were significantly enriched in HIV-1-infected CD4+CD8− PBMCs, microRNA-29a/b, microRNA-155 and microRNA-21 levels were significantly reduced. Based on the potential for microRNA binding sites in a conserved sequence of the Nef-3′-LTR, several host microRNAs potentially could affect HIV-1 gene expression. Among those microRNAs, the microRNA-29 family has seed complementarity in the HIV-1 3′-UTR, but the potential suppressive effect of microRNA-29 on HIV-1 is severely blocked by the secondary structure of the target region. Our data support a possible regulatory circuit at the peak of HIV-1 replication which involves downregulation of microRNA-29, expression of Nef, the apoptosis of host CD4 cells and upregulation of microRNA-223.

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