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J Cell Physiol. 2009 Feb;218(2):264-7. doi: 10.1002/jcp.21604.

BAG3 protein regulates caspase-3 activation in HIV-1-infected human primary microglial cells.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences (DiFarma), University of Salerno, Salerno, Italy.


BAG3, a member of the BAG co-chaperones family, is expressed in several cell types subjected to stressful conditions, such as exposure to high temperature, heavy metals, drugs. Furthermore, it is constitutively expressed in some tumors. Among the biological activities of the protein, there is apoptosis downmodulation; this appears to be exerted through BAG3 interaction with the heat shock protein (Hsp) 70, that influences cell apoptosis at several levels. We recently reported that BAG3 protein was detectable in the cytoplasm of reactive astrocytes in HIV-1-associated encephalopathy biopsies. Here we report that downmodulation of BAG3 protein levels allows caspase-3 activation by HIV-1 infection in human primary microglial cells. This is the first reported evidence of a role for BAG3 in the balance of death versus survival during viral infection.

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