Biochimie 2017 05 23() pii 10.1016/j.biochi.2017.05.014
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected cells actively release the transcriptional activator (Tat) viral protein that is required for efficient HIV gene transcription. Extracellular Tat is able to enter uninfected cells. We recently reported that internalized Tat escapes endosomes to reach the cytosol and is then recruited to the plasma membrane by phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PtdIns(4,5)P2). As a consequence, Tat strongly impairs different critical cellular functions in several cell types. Here we will review recent evidences showing that Tat, by affecting the interaction of key cellular effectors with PtdIns(4,5)P2, blocks exocytosis from neuroendocrine cells, perturbs the synaptic vesicle exo-endocytosis cycle, prevents efficient phagocytosis by macrophages, and alters potassium channel activity in cardiac cells. Potential mechanistic aspects of Tat effects on these cellular processes will be discussed.