Although dispensable in vitro, HIV Nef enables high-level viral replication in infected hosts by an as yet unexplained mechanism. Previously, we proposed that Nef functionally cooperates with the viral transactivator Tat by derepressing the viral promoter via a Nef-associated kinase complex (NAKC). Here, we demonstrate that hnRNP-K, a host factor thought to facilitate crosstalk between kinases and gene expression, interacts with Nef and, as part of NAKC, nucleates Nef-interacting kinases, including Lck, PKCδ, and PI-3 kinase, leading to Lck and Erk1/2 activation. This strongly increased HIV transcription, which depended on Tat and the NF-kB motif in the viral promoter, but not on NF-kB activation. Depletion of hnRNP-K in a Jurkat model of HIV latency increased Erk1/2 activity and greatly augmented HIV reactivating stimuli. We conclude that hnRNP-K coordinates membrane signaling with transcriptional derepression through Erk1/2 and is targeted by HIV to enable Tat-mediated transcription.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)
- Cancer Research
- Molecular Biology