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HIV-1 and HIV-1-Tat Induce Mitochondrial DNA Damage in Human Neurons

Journal: Journal of HIV and AIDS (Vol.6, No. 1)

Publication Date:

Authors : ;

Page : 1-15

Keywords : mtDNA; HIV-1; Tat; Human neurons; mtDNA damage;

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Ntroduction: Mitochondrial dysregulation is a key event in HIV-1 infection. Recent studies have suggested that age-related neurodegenerative disorders are associated with increased mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) damage. As accelerated ageing was found in HIV-1 patients, we hypothesized that HIV-1 infection or HIV-1 proteins can lead to mtDNA damage. Unrepaired mtDNA impairs mitochondrial function, which can lead to oxidative stress and cell death. Investigations of mechanisms of mtDNA damage are limited by the lack of available human models. Methods: We compared mtDNA or nDNA (nuclear DNA) damage in human cortical neurons and PBMC cells. Primary neuronal cultures were incubated with conditioned media from HIV-1 infected PBMC, or HIV-1 viral proteins Tat or Vpr. Total genomic DNA (nuclear and mtDNA) was isolated using the QIAamp Kit. Nuclear and mtDNA were amplified using the long q-PCR/Gene Amp XL Kit. Real-Time RT-PCR using mitochondrial energy metabolism array was performed to assess mitochondrial energy metabolism markers. Superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity in neuronal cells was measured by the OxiSelect SOD Activity Assay. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) were determined by the confocal microscopy. ATP levels were analyzed using ATP determination biochemical assay. Mitochondrial, cytoplasmic and nuclear proteins were studied by quantitative western-blot assay. Results: We show that both treatment of neuronal cells with HIV-1 conditioned media, or infection of PBMC with HIV-1 increase mtDNA damage in cells. mtDNA damage was also seen in neuronal cells, incubated with HIV-1 proteins, Tat and Vpr. Next, we confirmed that mtDNA damage was also increased in neuronal cells transfected by Tat expressing plasmids. We showed that mtDNA was not damaged in neuronal cells following treatment with heat inactivated HIV-1 or Tat protein. Further, we demonstrated that HIV-1 or Tat caused more mtDNA damage compared to nuclear DNA damage in neuronal cells. Finally, we showed that Tat dysregulates RNA expression of several genes regulating mitochondrial energy metabolism, suggesting involvement of Tat in mitochondrial bioenergetics in human neurons. Finally, our hypothesis was confirmed by qWestern analysis of mitochondrial and apoptotic proteins demonstrating the accumulation of apoptotic Bax and Bad proteins in mitochondrial fraction of Tat-treated neuronal cells, suggesting toxic effects of Tat on mitochondrial survival. Conclusion: We showed an increase of mtDNA damage in primary neurons, treated with HIV-1 proteins and in PBMC, infected with HIV-1. Increased mtDNA damage can lead to neurodegeneration, and cause neuronal apoptosis. Our system presents a suitable model to study mtDNA changes during HIV-1 infection.

Last modified: 2021-02-25 15:51:17