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Virology. 2008 Nov 25;381(2):161-7. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2008.08.033. Epub 2008 Oct 1.

FOXP3 inhibits HIV-1 infection of CD4 T-cells via inhibition of LTR transcriptional activity.

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Division of Rheumatology, Department of Pediatrics, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


FOXP3 is a necessary transcription factor for the development and function of CD4+ regulatory T-cells (Tregs). The role of Tregs in HIV-1 infection remains unclear. Here, we show that expression of FOXP3 in primary human CD4 T-cells significantly inhibits HIV-1 infection. Since FOXP3 inhibits NFAT activity, and NFAT proteins contribute to HIV-1 transcription, we explore a transcriptional repressive function of HIV-1 LTR by FOXP3. Over-expression of FOXP3 in primary CD4 T-cells inhibits wild-type HIV-1 LTR reporter activity, and truncation mutants demonstrate that repression of the LTR by FOXP3 requires the dual proximal NF kappaB/NFAT binding sites. Interestingly, FOXP3 decreases binding of NFAT2 to the HIV-1 LTR in vivo. Furthermore, FOXP3 does not inhibit infection of HIV-1 NL4-3 which is mutated to disrupt transcription factor binding at either proximal NFAT or NF kappaB binding sites. These data suggest that resistance of Tregs to HIV-1 infection is due to inhibition of HIV-1 LTR transcription by FOXP3.

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