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J Virol. 2017 Nov 14;91(23). pii: e01205-17. doi: 10.1128/JVI.01205-17. Print 2017 Dec 1.

Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide Induces HIV-1 Proteasomal Degradation in Mucosal Langerhans Cells.

Bomsel M1,2,3, Ganor Y4,2,3.

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Laboratory of Mucosal Entry of HIV-1 and Mucosal Immunity, Department of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, Cochin Institute, CNRS UMR 8104, Paris, France.
INSERM U1016, Paris, France.
Paris Descartes University, Sorbonne Paris Cité, Paris, France.
Laboratory of Mucosal Entry of HIV-1 and Mucosal Immunity, Department of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, Cochin Institute, CNRS UMR 8104, Paris, France


The neuroimmune dialogue between peripheral neurons and Langerhans cells (LCs) within mucosal epithelia protects against incoming pathogens. LCs rapidly internalize human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) upon its sexual transmission and then trans-infect CD4+ T cells. We recently found that the neuropeptide calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), secreted mucosally from peripheral neurons, inhibits LC-mediated HIV-1 trans-infection. In this study, we investigated the mechanism of CGRP-induced inhibition, focusing on HIV-1 degradation in LCs and its interplay with trans-infection. We first show that HIV-1 degradation occurs in endolysosomes in untreated LCs, and functionally blocking such degradation with lysosomotropic agents results in increased trans-infection. We demonstrate that CGRP acts via its cognate receptor and at a viral postentry step to induce faster HIV-1 degradation, but without affecting the kinetics of endolysosomal degradation. We reveal that unexpectedly, CGRP shifts HIV-1 degradation from endolysosomes toward the proteasome, providing the first evidence for functional HIV-1 proteasomal degradation in LCs. Such efficient proteasomal degradation significantly inhibits the first phase of trans-infection, and proteasomal, but not endolysosomal, inhibitors abrogate CGRP-induced inhibition. Together, our results establish that CGRP controls the HIV-1 degradation mode in LCs. The presence of endogenous CGRP within innervated mucosal tissues, especially during the sexual response, to which CGRP contributes, suggests that HIV-1 proteasomal degradation predominates in vivo Hence, proteasomal, rather than endolysosomal, HIV-1 degradation in LCs should be enhanced clinically to effectively restrict HIV-1 trans-infection.IMPORTANCE During sexual transmission, HIV-1 is internalized and degraded in LCs, the resident antigen-presenting cells in mucosal epithelia. Yet during trans-infection, infectious virions escaping degradation are transferred to CD4+ T cells, the principal HIV-1 targets. We previously found that the neuroimmune dialogue between LCs and peripheral neurons, innervating mucosal epithelia, significantly inhibits trans-infection via the action of the secreted neuropeptide CGRP on LCs. In this study, we investigated whether CGRP-induced inhibition of trans-infection is linked to CGRP-controlled HIV-1 degradation in LCs. We show that in untreated LCs, HIV-1 is functionally degraded in endolysosomes. In sharp contrast, we reveal that in CGRP-treated LCs, HIV-1 is diverted toward and degraded via another cytosolic protein degradative pathway, namely, the proteasome. These results establish that CGRP regulates HIV-1 degradation in LCs. As CGRP contributes to the sexual response and present within mucosal epithelia, HIV-1 proteasomal degradation in LCs might predominate in vivo and should be enhanced clinically.


Langerhans cells (LCs); calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP); degradation; human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1); proteasome; trans-infection

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