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Arch Virol. 1994;139(3-4):365-78.

Expression kinetics and subcellular localization of HIV-1 regulatory proteins Nef, Tat and Rev in acutely and chronically infected lymphoid cell lines.

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Department of Dermatology and Venereology, University of Helsinki, Finland.


Information concerning the expression kinetics and subcellular localization of HIV regulatory proteins is of importance in understanding the viral pathogenesis and may be relevant for drug and vaccine development, as well. We have used combined immunocytochemistry and in situ hybridization to study firstly, the order of expression of regulatory HIV-1 proteins Nef, Rev and Tat in relation to non-spliced and spliced mRNA expression and secondly, the subcellular localization of these proteins in acutely and chronically infected human T-cell lines. We used monoclonal antibodies against HIV-1 Nef, Tat, Rev and gp160, and RNA probes reacting either with all mRNAs (nef) or only with the full-length mRNA (gag-pol). In acutely infected MT-4 and H9 cells, four distinct phases of infection could be defined. In the first phase lasting from 0 to 6 h post-infection, only incoming virus could be demonstrated by gp160 immunocytochemistry. During the second, regulatory phase (6-9 h), abundant cytoplasmic expression of Nef, Rev and Tat proteins and a positive in situ RNA hybridization with the nef probe was seen, while the in situ hybridization with full-length mRNA probe and immunohistochemistry for gp160 were still negative. The productive phase (12-48 h) was characterized by abundant expression of full-length mRNA and gp160, and by the nuclear localization of Nef and Tat proteins. In contrast, an antibody that recognized the RRE binding region of the Rev protein localized Rev in the cytoplasm both during the regulatory and productive phase. During the fourth, cytopathic phase, the expression of mRNA or viral proteins decreased and the regulatory proteins studied were again mainly localized in the cytoplasm. Based on the results, we speculate that HIV Nef may function as a nuclear factor, and that Tat is possibly bound by cellular proteins before its transport to the nucleus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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