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J Biol Chem. 2005 Nov 18;280(46):38376-82. Epub 2005 Sep 9.

The C terminus of HIV-1 Tat modulates the extent of CD178-mediated apoptosis of T cells.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Division of Infectious Diseases, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093-0672, USA.


HIV infection and the progression to AIDS are characterized by the depletion of CD4(+) T cells through apoptosis of the uninfected bystander cells and the direct killing of HIV-infected cells. This is mediated in part by the human immunodeficiency virus, type 1 Tat protein, which is secreted by virally infected cells and taken up by uninfected cells and CD178 gene expression, which is critically involved in T cell apoptosis. The differing ability of HIV strains to induce death of infected and uninfected cells may play a role in the clinical and biological differences displayed by HIV strains. We chemically synthesized the 86-residue truncated short variant of Tat and its full-length form. We show that the trans-activation ability of Tat at the long terminal repeat does not correlate with T cell apoptosis but that the ability of Tat to up-regulate CD178 mRNA expression and induce apoptosis in T cells is critically dependent on the C terminus of Tat. Moreover, the greater 86-residue Tat-induced apoptosis is via the extrinsic pathway of CD95-CD178.

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