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J Biol Chem. 2007 Jun 1;282(22):15973-80. Epub 2007 Apr 6.

FoxP3 enhances HIV-1 gene expression by modulating NFkappaB occupancy at the long terminal repeat in human T cells.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, Curriculum in Genetics and Molecular Biology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 27599-7295, USA.


FoxP3 determines the development of CD4+CD25+ regulatory T (Treg) cells and represses interleukin-2 (IL-2) expression in Treg cells. However, human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infects and replicates efficiently in FoxP3+ Treg cells. We report that, while inhibiting IL-2 gene expression, FoxP3 enhances gene expression from HIV-1 long terminal repeat (LTR). This FoxP3 activity requires both the N- and C-terminal domains and is inactivated by human IPEX (immunodysregulation, polyendocrinopathy, enteropathy, X-linked syndrome) mutations. FoxP3 enhances HIV-1 LTR via its specific NFkappaB binding sequences in an NFkappaB-dependent fashion in T cells but not in HEK293 cells. FoxP3 decreases level of histone acetylation at the interleukin-2 locus but not at the HIV-1 LTR. Although NFkappaB nuclear translocation is not altered, FoxP3 enhances NFkappaB-p65 binding to HIV-1 LTR. These data suggest that FoxP3 modulates gene expression in a promoter sequence-dependent fashion by modulating chromatin structure and NFkappaB activity. HIV-1 LTR has evolved to both highjack the T-cell activation pathway for expression and to resist FoxP3-mediated suppression of T-cell activation.

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