Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
PLoS One. 2014 Apr 8;9(4):e93944. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0093944. eCollection 2014.

Necroptosis takes place in human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1)-infected CD4+ T lymphocytes.

Author information

  • 1Institute of Human Virology, Sun Yatsen University, Guangzhou, China; Key Laboratory of Tropical Disease Control of Ministry of Education, Zhongshan School of Medicine, Sun Yatsen University, Guangzhou, China.
  • 2Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Center for Human Virology, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America.


Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection is characterized by progressive depletion of CD4+ T lymphocytes and dysfunction of the immune system. The numbers of CD4+ T lymphocytes in the human body are maintained constantly by homeostatic mechanisms that failed during HIV-1 infection, resulting in progressive loss of CD4+ T cells mainly via apoptosis. Recently, a non-apoptotic form of necrotic programmed cell death, named necroptosis, has been investigated in many biological and pathological processes. We then determine whether HIV-1-infected cells also undergo necroptosis. In this report, we demonstrate that HIV-1 not only induces apoptosis, but also mediates necroptosis in the infected primary CD4+ T lymphocytes and CD4+ T-cell lines. Necroptosis-dependent cytopathic effects are significantly increased in HIV-1-infected Jurkat cells that is lack of Fas-associated protein-containing death domain (FADD), indicating that necroptosis occurs as an alternative cell death mechanism in the absence of apoptosis. Unlike apoptosis, necroptosis mainly occurs in HIV-infected cells and spares bystander damage. Treatment with necrostatin-1(Nec-1), a RIP1 inhibitor that specifically blocks the necroptosis pathway, potently restrains HIV-1-induced cytopathic effect and interestingly, inhibits the formation of HIV-induced syncytia in CD4+ T-cell lines. This suggests that syncytia formation is mediated, at least partially, by necroptosis-related processes. Furthermore, we also found that the HIV-1 infection-augmented tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) plays a key role in inducing necroptosis and HIV-1 Envelope and Tat proteins function as its co-factors. Taken together,necroptosis can function as an alternative cell death pathway in lieu of apoptosis during HIV-1 infection, thereby also contributing to HIV-1-induced cytopathic effects. Our results reveal that in addition to apoptosis, necroptosis also plays an important role in HIV-1-induced pathogenesis.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk