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PLoS One. 2011 Feb 9;6(2):e16659. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0016659.

HIV-1 nef protein structures associated with brain infection and dementia pathogenesis.

Author information

1
Polytechnic Institute of New York University, New York, New York, United States of America.

Abstract

The difference between regional rates of HIV-associated dementia (HAD) in patients infected with different subtypes of HIV suggests that genetic determinants exist within HIV that influence the ability of the virus to replicate in the central nervous system (in Uganda, Africa, subtype D HAD rate is 89%, while subtype A HAD rate is 24%). HIV-1 nef is a multifunctional protein with known toxic effects in the brain compartment. The goal of the current study was to identify if specific three-dimensional nef structures may be linked to patients who developed HAD. HIV-1 nef structures were computationally derived for consensus brain and non-brain sequences from a panel of patients infected with subtype B who died due to varied disease pathologies and consensus subtype A and subtype D sequences from Uganda. Site directed mutation analysis identified signatures in brain structures that appear to change binding potentials and could affect folding conformations of brain-associated structures. Despite the large sequence variation between HIV subtypes, structural alignments confirmed that viral structures derived from patients with HAD were more similar to subtype D structures than to structures derived from patient sequences without HAD. Furthermore, structures derived from brain sequences of patients with HAD were more similar to subtype D structures than they were to their own non-brain structures. The potential finding of a brain-specific nef structure indicates that HAD may result from genetic alterations that alter the folding or binding potential of the protein.

PMID:
21347424
PMCID:
PMC3036659
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0016659
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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