A dichotomy in cortical actin and chemotactic actin activity between human memory and naive T cells contributes to their differential susceptibility to HIV-1 infection.

J Biol Chem. 2012 Oct 12;287(42):35455-69.

Wang W, Guo J, Yu D, Vorster PJ, Chen W, Wu Y.

National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Diseases, Department of Molecular and Microbiology, George Mason University, Manassas, Virginia 20110, USA.

Abstract

Human memory and naive CD4 T cells can mainly be identified by the reciprocal expression of the CD45RO or CD45RA isoforms. In HIV-1 infection, blood CD45RO memory CD4 T cells are preferentially infected and serve as a major viral reservoir. The molecular mechanism dictating this differential susceptibility to HIV-1 remains largely obscure. Here, we report that the different susceptibility of memory and naive T cells to HIV is not determined by restriction factors such as Apobec3G or BST2. However, we observed a phenotypic distinction between human CD45RO and CD45RA resting CD4 T cells in their cortical actin density and actin dynamics. CD45RO CD4 T cells possess a higher cortical actin density and can be distinguished as CD45RO(+)Actin(high). In contrast, CD45RA T cells are phenotypically CD45RA(+)Actin(low). In addition, the cortical actin in CD45RO memory CD4 T cells is more dynamic and can respond to low dosages of chemotactic induction by SDF-1, whereas that of naive cells cannot, despite a similar level of the chemokine receptor CXCR4 present on both cells. We further demonstrate that this difference in the cortical actin contributes to their differential susceptibility to HIV-1; resting memory but not naive T cells are highly responsive to HIV-mediated actin dynamics that promote higher levels of viral entry and early DNA synthesis in resting memory CD4 T cells. Furthermore, transient induction of actin dynamics in resting naive T cells rescues HIV latent infection following CD3/CD28 stimulation. These results suggest a key role of chemotactic actin activity in facilitating HIV-1 latent infection of these T cell subsets.

PMID: 22879601

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