Redox biology 2017 12 0515() 97-108 pii 10.1016/j.redox.2017.11.024
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection is associated with B-cell malignancies in patients though HIV-1 is not able to infect B-cells. The rate of B-cell lymphomas in HIV-infected individuals remains high even under the combined antiretroviral therapy (cART) that reconstitutes the immune function. Thus, the contribution of HIV-1 to B-cell oncogenesis remains enigmatic. HIV-1 induces oxidative stress and DNA damage in infected cells via multiple mechanisms, including viral Tat protein. We have detected elevated levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and DNA damage in B-cells of HIV-infected individuals. As Tat is present in blood of infected individuals and is able to transduce cells, we hypothesized that it could induce oxidative DNA damage in B-cells promoting genetic instability and malignant transformation. Indeed, incubation of B-cells isolated from healthy donors with purified Tat protein led to oxidative stress, a decrease in the glutathione (GSH) levels, DNA damage and appearance of chromosomal aberrations. The effects of Tat relied on its transcriptional activity and were mediated by NF-κB activation. Tat stimulated oxidative stress in B-cells mostly via mitochondrial ROS production which depended on the reverse electron flow in Complex I of respiratory chain. We propose that Tat-induced oxidative stress, DNA damage and chromosomal aberrations are novel oncogenic factors favoring B-cell lymphomas in HIV-1 infected individuals.