Scientific reports 2016 12 066() 38162 doi 10.1038/srep38162
SAMHD1 restricts human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) replication in myeloid cells and CD4(+) T cells, while Vpx can mediate SAMHD1 degradation to promote HIV-1 replication. Although the restriction mechanisms of SAMHD1 have been well-described, SAMHD1 expression and Vpx-mediated SAMHD1 degradation during chronic HIV-1 infection were poorly understood. Flow cytometric analysis was used to directly visualize ex vivo, and after in vitro SIV-Vpx treatment, SAMHD1 expression in CD4(+) T cells and monocytes. Here we report activated CD4(+) T cells without SAMHD1 expression were severely reduced, and SAMHD1 in CD4(+) T cells became susceptible to SIV-Vpx mediated degradation during chronic HIV-1 infection, which was absent from uninfected donors. These alterations were irreversible, even after long-term fully suppressive antiretroviral treatment. Although SAMHD1 expression in CD4(+) T cells and monocytes was not found to correlate with plasma viral load, Vpx-mediated SAMHD1 degradation was associated with indicators of immune activation. In vitro assays further revealed that T-cell activation and an upregulated IFN-I pathway contributed to these altered SAMHD1 properties. These findings provide insight into how immune activation during HIV-1 infection leads to irreparable aberrations in restriction factors and in subsequent viral evasion from host antiviral defenses.