Scientific reports 2016 08 236() 31924 doi 10.1038/srep31924
HIV-1 Vpr is an accessory protein that induces proteasomal degradation of multiple proteins. We recently showed that Vpr targets class I HDACs on chromatin for proteasomal degradation. Here we show that Vpr induces degradation of HDAC1 and HDAC3 in HIV-1 latently infected J-Lat cells. Degradation of HDAC1 and HDAC3 was also observed on the HIV-1 LTR and as a result, markers of active transcription were recruited to the viral promoter and induced viral activation. Knockdown of HDAC1 and HDAC3 activated the latent HIV-1 provirus and complementation with HDAC3 inhibited Vpr-induced HIV-1 reactivation. Viral reactivation and degradation of HDAC1 and HDAC3 was conserved among Vpr proteins of HV-1 group M. Serum Vpr isolated from patients or the release of virion-incorporated Vpr from viral lysates also activated HIV-1 in latently infected cell lines and PBMCs from HIV-1 infected patients. Our results indicate that Vpr counteracts HIV-1 latency by inducing proteasomal degradation of HDAC1 and 3 leading to reactivation of the viral promoter.