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J Biol Chem. 2014 Jul 11;289(28):19599-612. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M114.567644. Epub 2014 May 22.

Astrocyte elevated gene-1 is a novel modulator of HIV-1-associated neuroinflammation via regulation of nuclear factor-κB signaling and excitatory amino acid transporter-2 repression.

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From the Department of Cell Biology and Immunology, University of North Texas Health Science Center, Fort Worth, Texas 76107 and.
the Departments of Pathology and Neuroscience & Cell Biology, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas 77555.
From the Department of Cell Biology and Immunology, University of North Texas Health Science Center, Fort Worth, Texas 76107 and


Astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1), a novel human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α-inducible oncogene, has generated significant interest in the field of cancer research as a therapeutic target for many metastatic aggressive tumors. However, little is known about its role in astrocyte responses during HIV-1 central nervous system (CNS) infection and whether it contributes toward the development of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND). Therefore, in this study, we investigated changes in AEG-1 CNS expression in HIV-1-infected brain tissues and elucidated a potential mechanism of AEG-1-mediated regulation of HAND. Immunoblotting and immunohistochemical analyses of HIV-1 seropositive and HIV-1 encephalitic human brain tissues revealed significantly elevated levels of AEG-1 protein. Immunohistochemical analyses of HIV-1 Tat transgenic mouse brain tissues also showed a marked increase in AEG-1 staining. Similar to in vivo observations, cultured astrocytes expressing HIV-1 Tat also revealed AEG-1 and cytokine up-regulation. Astrocytes treated with HAND-relevant stimuli, TNF-α, interleukin (IL)-1β, and HIV-1, also significantly induced AEG-1 expression and nuclear translocation via activation of the nuclear factor (NF)-κB pathway. Co-immunoprecipitation studies demonstrated IL-1β- or TNF-α-induced AEG-1 interaction with NF-κB p65 subunit. AEG-1 knockdown decreased NF-κB activation, nuclear translocation, and transcriptional output in TNF-α-treated astrocytes. Moreover, IL-1β treatment of AEG-1-overexpressing astrocytes significantly lowered expression of excitatory amino acid transporter 2, increased expression of excitatory amino acid transporter 2 repressor ying yang 1, and reduced glutamate clearance, a major transducer of excitotoxic neuronal damage. Findings from this study identify a novel transcriptional co-factor function of AEG-1 and further implicate AEG-1 in HAND-associated neuroinflammation.


AEG-1; Astrocyte; Cancer; HIV-1-associated Neurocognitive Disorders; Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV); Neurodegeneration; Neuroinflammation

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