BMC microbiology 2016 07 2916(1) 172 doi 10.1186/s12866-016-0751-2
Study of a clinic case reveals that alpha-1-antitrypsin (AAT) deficiency is related to CD4+ T cell count decline and AIDS progression, suggesting that AAT might be an endogenous inhibitor of HIV/AIDS. Previous study shows that AAT inhibits HIV-1 replication in infected host cells and the C-terminus fragment of AAT, VIRIP, interferes with HIV-1 infection. However, it is still unclear whether and how intact AAT inhibits HIV-1 infection. It is also unknown what the mechanism of AAT is and which critical step(s) are involved.
In the present study, the C-terminus of AAT (C) was synthesized. C terminus-truncated AAT (ΔAAT) was also prepared by digesting AAT with metalloproteinase. Primary CD4+ T cells were then co-cultured with HIV-1 with the presence or absence of AAT/C/ΔAAT to detect cis-infection of HIV-1. The interaction between AAT/C/ΔAAT and gp120/gp41 was also measured. Meanwhile, HIV-1 reverse transcriptase activity and viral DNA integration were also detected in these lymphocytes. The results demonstrated that AAT and C, not ΔAAT, inhibited HIV-1 entry by directly interacting with gp41. Meanwhile, AAT, C and ΔAAT could not directly interfere with the steps of viral RNA reverse transcription and viral DNA integration.
AAT inhibits HIV-1 entry by directly interacting with gp41 through its C-terminus and thereby inhibits HIV-1 infection.