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J Infect Dis. 2011 Jun 15;203(12):1824-31. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jir170.

Nef inhibits glucose uptake in adipocytes and contributes to insulin resistance in human immunodeficiency virus type I infection.

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Department of Pharmacological Sciences, State University of New York at Stony Brook, NY 11794-8153, USA.


Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection is associated with insulin resistance. HIV type 1 Nef downregulates cell surface protein expression, alters signal transduction, and interacts with the cytoskeleton and proteins involved in actin polymerization. These functions are required for glucose uptake by insulin-stimulated adipocytes. We sought to determine whether Nef alters adipocyte glucose homeostasis. Using radiolabeled glucose, we found that adipocytes exposed to recombinant Nef took in 42% less glucose after insulin stimulation than did control cells. This reduction resulted from a Nef-dependent inhibition of glucose transporter 4 (GLUT4) trafficking, as assessed by means of immunofluorescence microscopy. Immunoblot analysis revealed a decrease in phosphorylation of signal transducing proteins after Nef treatment, and fluorescence microscopy showed a dramatic alteration in cortical actin organization. We conclude that Nef interferes with insulin-stimulated processes in adipocytes. We have identified HIV Nef, which is detectable and antigenic in serum samples from HIV-infected people, as a novel contributor to the development of insulin resistance.

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