UV-induced transcription from the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) long terminal repeat and UV-induced secretion of an extracellular factor that induces HIV-1 transcription in nonirradiated cells.


UV irradiation, but not visible sunlight, induces the transcription of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). Chimeric constructs carrying all or parts of the HIV-1 long terminal repeat linked to an indicator gene were transfected into HeLa cells or murine and human T-cell lines, and their response to irradiation was tested. The cis-acting element conferring UV responsiveness is identical to the sequence binding transcription factor NF kappa B. UV irradiation enhances NF kappa B binding activity as assayed by gel retardation experiments. Interestingly, the requirement for UV irradiation can be replaced by cocultivation of transfected cells with UV-irradiated nontransfected (HIV-1-negative) cells. A UV-induced extracellular protein factor is detected in the culture medium conditioned by UV-treated cells. The factor is produced upon UV irradiation by several murine and human cell lines, including HeLa, Molt-4, and Jurkat, and acts on several cells. These data suggest that the UV response of keratinocytes in human skin can be magnified and spread to deeper layers that are more shielded, including the Langerhans cells, and that this indirect UV response may contribute to the activation of HIV-1 in humans.

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