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J Biol Chem. 2000 Feb 4;275(5):3693-8.

Molecular mechanism of decreased glutathione content in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 Tat-transgenic mice.

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Department of Molecular Pharmacology, University of Southern California School of Pharmacy, Los Angeles, California 90033, USA.


Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) progressively depletes GSH content in humans. Although the accumulated evidence suggests a role of decreased GSH in the pathogenesis of HIV, significant controversy remains concerning the mechanism of GSH depletion, especially in regard to envisioning appropriate therapeutic strategies to help compensate for such decreased antioxidant capacity. Tat, a transactivator encoded by HIV, is sufficient to cause GSH depletion in vitro and is implicated in AIDS-associated Kaposi's sarcoma and B cell lymphoma. In this study, we report a decrease in GSH biosynthesis with Tat, using HIV-1 Tat transgenic (Tat+) mice. A significant decline in the total intracellular GSH content in liver and erythrocytes of Tat+ mice was accompanied by decreased gamma-glutamylcysteine synthetase regulatory subunit mRNA and protein content, which resulted in an increased sensitivity of gamma-glutamylcysteine synthetase to feedback inhibition by GSH. Further study revealed a significant reduction in the activity of GSH synthetase in liver of Tat+ mice, which was linearly associated with their GSH content. Therefore, Tat appears to decrease GSH in vivo, at least partially, through modulation of GSH biosynthetic enzymes.

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