Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Biol Chem. 2001 Feb 2;276(5):3254-61. Epub 2000 Oct 6.

Internalization of HIV-1 tat requires cell surface heparan sulfate proteoglycans.

Author information

Molecular Medicine Laboratory, International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), 34012 Trieste, Italy.


Tat, the transactivator protein of human immunodeficiency virus-1, has the unusual capacity of being internalized by cells when present in the extracellular milieu. This property can be exploited for the cellular delivery of heterologous proteins fused to Tat both in cell culture and in living animals. Here we provide genetic and biochemical evidence that cell membrane heparan sulfate (HS) proteoglycans act as receptors for extracellular Tat uptake. Cells genetically defective in the biosynthesis of fully sulfated HS are selectively impaired in the internalization of recombinant Tat fused to the green fluorescent protein, as evaluated by both flow cytometry and functional assays. In wild type cells, Tat uptake is competitively inhibited by soluble heparin and by treatment with glycosaminoglycan lyases specifically degrading HS chains. Cell surface HS proteoglycans also mediate physiological internalization of Tat green fluorescent protein released from neighboring producing cells. In contrast to extracellular Tat uptake, both wild type cells and cells genetically impaired in proteoglycan synthesis are equally proficient in the extracellular release of Tat, thus indicating that proteoglycans are not required for this process. The ubiquitous distribution of HS proteoglycans is consistent with the efficient intracellular delivery of heterologous proteins fused with Tat to different mammalian cell types.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Support Center