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J Virol. 2006 Jan;80(1):130-7.

"UnPAKing" human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) replication: using small interfering RNA screening to identify novel cofactors and elucidate the role of group I PAKs in HIV infection.

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  • 1Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation, San Diego, CA 92121, USA.


In order to identify novel proviral host factors involved in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, we performed a screen of a small interfering RNA (siRNA) library targeting 5,000 genes with the highest potential for being targets for therapeutics. Many siRNAs in the library against known host factors, such as TSG101, furin, and CXCR4, were identified as inhibitors by the screen and thus served as internal validation. In addition, many novel factors whose knockdown inhibited infection were identified, including Pak3, a member of the serine/threonine group I PAK kinases. The HIV accessory factor Nef has been shown to associate with a PAK kinase, leading to enhanced viral production; however, the exact identity of the kinase has remained controversial. Prompted by the Pak3 screen hit, we further investigated the involvement of group I PAK kinases in HIV using siRNA. Contrary to the current literature, Pak1 depletion strongly inhibited HIV infection in multiple cell systems and decreased levels of integrated provirus, while Pak2 depletion showed no effect. Overexpression of a constitutively active Pak1 mutant also enhanced HIV infection, further supporting its role as the dominant PAK involved.

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