Human immunodeficiency virus Tat induces functional unresponsiveness in T cells

Narendra Chirmule, Soe Than, Shabbir A. Khan, Savita Pahwa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Soluble proteins of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) might play a significant role in the pathogenesis of HIV infection. The effects of regulatory proteins of HIV, Tat, Nef, and Vif, on normal T-cell function were investigated. The addition of synthetic Tat peptides, but not that of the recombinant Nef or Vif protein, inhibited proliferative responses of CD4+ tetanus antigen-specific, exogenous interleukin-2 (IL-2)-independent T-cell clones in a dose-dependent manner. In addition, Tat peptides inhibited the anti-CD3 monoclonal antibody-induced proliferative responses of both purified CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. Tat did not affect proliferative responses induced by phorbol myristate acetate plus ionomycin. The Tat peptides at the concentrations used (0.1 to 3 μg/ml) did not affect the viability of the cells as determined by trypan blue exclusion. Treatment of Tat peptides with polyclonal Tat antibodies abrogated the inhibitory effect of Tat. Soluble Tat proteins secreted by HeLa cells transfected with the tat gene also inhibited antigen-induced proliferation of the T-cell clones. Tat inhibited the anti- CD3 monoclonal antibody-induced IL-2 mRNA expression and IL-2 secretion but did not affect IL-2 receptor α-chain mRNA or protein expression on peripheral blood T cells. Finally, treatment of T-cell clones with the Tat peptide did not affect the antigen-induced increase in intracellular calcium, hydrolysis of phosphatidyl inositol to inositol trisphosphate, or translocation of protein kinase C from the cytosol to the membrane. These studies demonstrate that the mechanism of the Tat-mediated inhibition of T- cell functions involves a phospholipase C γ1-independent pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)492-498
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology

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