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AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2007 Jan;23(1):116-22.

HIV-1 infection increases the expression of human endogenous retroviruses type K (HERV-K) in vitro.

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AIDS Research Program, Ponce School of Medicine, Ponce, Puerto Rico, 00716.


Antibodies to HERV-K antigens have been linked to HIV-1 infection and expression of HERV-K proteins generates T-cell cytotoxic responses in many cancers. HERV-K RNA and protein abundance was measured in HIV-1-infected and control cells. In vitro exposure of HIV-1 laboratory-adapted and primary isolates on U87MG cells increased the expression of HERV-K RNA in a dose-dependent manner. HERV-K RNA and protein burdens were significantly increased in HIV-1-producing H9 cell lines compared to H9 cells. The expression of HERV-K was synergistically increased in HIV-1-infected PBMCs after stimulation with PMA/ionomycin. Furthermore, the expression of HERV-K in PBMCs, and particularly in CD4(+) T cells, was higher in HIV-1 patients compared to control subjects. The expression of HERV-K might be related to HIV-1 pathogenesis and AIDS-associated cancers.

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