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Retrovirology. 2009 Jan 15;6:5. doi: 10.1186/1742-4690-6-5.

Microarray study reveals that HIV-1 induces rapid type-I interferon-dependent p53 mRNA up-regulation in human primary CD4+ T cells.

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Centre de Recherche en Infectiologie, Centre Hospitalier de l'Université Laval, and Faculté de Médecine, Université Laval, Québec, Canada.



Infection with HIV-1 has been shown to alter expression of a large array of host cell genes. However, previous studies aimed at investigating the putative HIV-1-induced modulation of host gene expression have been mostly performed in established human cell lines. To better approximate natural conditions, we monitored gene expression changes in a cell population highly enriched in human primary CD4+ T lymphocytes exposed to HIV-1 using commercial oligonucleotide microarrays from Affymetrix.


We report here that HIV-1 influences expression of genes related to many important biological processes such as DNA repair, cellular cycle, RNA metabolism and apoptosis. Notably, expression of the p53 tumor suppressor and genes involved in p53 homeostasis such as GADD34 were up-regulated by HIV-1 at the mRNA level. This observation is distinct from the previously reported p53 phosphorylation and stabilization at the protein level, which precedes HIV-1-induced apoptosis. We present evidence that the HIV-1-mediated increase in p53 gene expression is associated with virus-mediated induction of type-I interferon (i.e. IFN-alpha and IFN-beta).


These observations have important implications for our understanding of HIV-1 pathogenesis, particularly in respect to the virus-induced depletion of CD4+ T cells.

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