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J Neurovirol. 2012 Feb;18(1):20-9. doi: 10.1007/s13365-011-0061-2. Epub 2011 Dec 7.

Inhibition of interferon response by cystatin B: implication in HIV replication of macrophage reservoirs.

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Department of Microbiology and NeuroAIDS Program, University of Puerto Rico-Medical Sciences Campus, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00935, USA.


Cystatin B and signal transducer and activator of transcription-1 (STAT-1) phosphorylation have recently been shown to increase human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) replication in monocyte-derived macrophages (MDM), but the molecular pathways by which they do are unknown. We hypothesized that cystatin B inhibits the interferon (IFN) response and regulates STAT-1 phosphorylation by interacting with additional proteins. To test if cystatin B inhibits the IFN-β response, we performed luciferase reporter gene assays in Vero cells, which are IFN deficient. Interferon-stimulated response element (ISRE)-driven expression of firefly luciferase was significantly inhibited in Vero cells transfected with a cystatin B expression vector compared to cells transfected with an empty vector. To determine whether cystatin B interacts with other key players regulating STAT-1 phosphorylation and HIV-1 replication, cystatin B was immunoprecipitated from HIV-1-infected MDM. The protein complex was analyzed by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. Protein interactions with cystatin B were verified by Western blots and immunofluorescence with confocal imaging. Our findings confirmed that cystatin B interacts with pyruvate kinase M2 isoform, a protein previously associated cocaine enhancement of HIV-1 replication, and major vault protein (MVP), an IFN-responsive protein that interferes with JAK/STAT signals. Western blot studies confirmed the interaction with pyruvate kinase M2 isoform and MVP. Immunofluorescence studies of HIV-1-infected MDM showed that upregulated MVP colocalized with STAT-1. To our knowledge, the current study is the first to demonstrate the coexpression of cystatin B, STAT-1, MVP, and pyruvate kinase M2 isoform with HIV-1 replication in MDM and thus suggests novel targets for HIV-1 restriction in macrophages, the principal reservoirs for HIV-1 in the central nervous system.

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