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DNA Cell Biol. 2004 Apr;23(4):249-60.

Effect of HIV-1 Vpr on cell cycle regulators.

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  • 1Center for Neurovirology and Cancer Biology, College of Science and Technology, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19122, USA.


Cell cycle is one of the most complex processes in the life of a dividing cell. It involves numerous regulatory proteins, which direct the cell through a specific sequence of events for the production of two daughter cells. Cyclin-dependent kinases (cdks), which complex with the cyclin proteins, are the main players in the cell cycle. They can regulate the progression of the cells through different stages regulated by several proteins including p53, p21(WAF1), p19, p16, and cdc25. Downstream targets of cyclin-cdk complexes include pRB and E2F. A cell cycle can be altered to the advantage of many viral agents, most notably polyomaviruses, papillomaviruses, adenoviruses, and retroviruses. In addition, viral protein R (Vpr) is a protein encoded by the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). HIV-1, the causative agent of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), is a member of the lentivirus class of retroviruses. This accessory protein plays an important role in the regulation of the cell cycle by causing G(2) arrest and affecting cell cycle regulators. Vpr prevents infected cells from proliferating, and collaborates with the matrix protein (MA) to enable HIV-1 to enter the nucleus of nondividing cells. Studies from different labs including ours showed that Vpr affects the functions of cell cycle proteins, including p53 and p21(WAF1). Thus, the replication of HIV-1, and ultimately its pathogenesis, are intrinsically tied to cell-cycle control.

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