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J Biol Chem. 1996 Jul 12;271(28):16753-7.

The HIV nef protein associates with protein kinase C theta.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Beckman Center and Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California 94305, USA.


Expression of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) Nef protein has been linked to both decreased cell surface expression of CD4 and an impairment of signal transduction. The recently reported association of Nef with an unidentified serine kinase provides a clue as to how Nef might exert its effects. Considering the key role of protein kinase C (PKC) in T cell activation, we investigated the possibility that Nef interacts with PKC. Our results, using two approaches for detecting interactions between Nef and PKC isozymes in Jurkat cells, show that Nef interacts preferentially with thetaPKC. The interaction of Nef and thetaPKC is independent of calcium, enhanced by phospholipid activators of PKC and not affected by a PKC pseudosubstrate peptide. Phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate and phytohemagglutinin stimulation of Jurkat cells expressing Nef fails to produce the usual translocation of thetaPKC from the cytosol to the particulate fraction; translocation of betaPKC and epsilonPKC was unaffected. Indeed, there appears to be a net loss of thetaPKC in Nef-expressing cells following stimulation. The loss of thetaPKC, which may be a result of inhibition of its binding to RACKs due to Nef binding, could contribute to the various impairments of T cell function associated with HIV infection and Nef expression.

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