The balance between p53 isoforms modulates the efficiency of HIV-1 infection in macrophages

Several host factors influence HIV-1 infection and replication. The p53-mediated antiviral role in monocytes-derived macrophages (MDMs) was previously highlighted. Indeed, an increase in p53 level results in a stronger restriction against HIV-1 early replication steps through SAMHD1 activity. In this study, we investigated the potential role of some p53 isoforms in HIV-1 infection. Transfection of isoform-specific siRNA induces distinctive effects on the virus life cycle. For example, in contrast to a siRNA targeting all isoforms, a knockdown of Δ133p53 transcripts reduces virus replication in MDMs that is correlated with a decrease in phosphorylated inactive SAMHD1. Combination of Δ133p53 knockdown and Nutlin-3, a pharmacological inhibitor of MDM2 that stabilizes p53, further reduces susceptibility of MDMs to HIV-1 infection, thus suggesting an inhibitory role of Δ133p53 towards p53 antiviral activity. In contrast, p53β knockdown in MDMs increases the viral production independently of SAMHD1. Moreover, experiments with a Nef-deficient virus show that this viral protein plays a protective role against the antiviral environment mediated by p53. Finally, HIV-1 infection affects the expression pattern of p53 isoforms by increasing p53β and p53γ mRNA levels while stabilizing the protein level of p53α and some isoforms from the p53β subclass. The balance between the various p53 isoforms is therefore an important factor in the overall susceptibility of macrophages to HIV-1 infection, fine-tuning the p53 response against HIV-1. This study brings a new understanding of the complex role of p53 in virus replication processes in myeloid cells. Importance As of today, HIV-1 is still considered as a global pandemic without a functional cure, partly because of the presence of stable viral reservoirs. Macrophages constitute one of these cell reservoirs, contributing to the viral persistence. Studies investigating the host factors involved in cell susceptibility to HIV-1 infection might lead to a better understanding of the reservoir formation and will eventually allow the development of an efficient cure. Our team previously showed the antiviral role of p53 in macrophages, which acts by compromising the early steps of HIV-1 replication. In this study, we demonstrate the involvement of p53 isoforms, which regulates p53 activity and define the cellular environment influencing viral replication. In addition, the results concerning the potential role of p53 in antiviral innate immunity could be transposed to other fields of virology and suggest that knowledge in oncology can be applied to HIV-1 research.

Related Products

Cat.No. Product Name Information
S1061 Nutlin-3 Nutlin-3 is a potent and selective Mdm2 (RING finger-dependent ubiquitin protein ligase for itself and p53) antagonist with IC50 of 90 nM in a cell-free assay; stabilizes p73 in p53-deficient cells.

Related Targets

MDM2/MDMX E3 Ligase