Multiple protein kinases via activation of transcription factors NF-KB, AP-1 and C/EBP-5 regulate the IL-6/IL-8 production by HIV-1 Vpr in astrocytes

Mohitkumar R. Gangwani, Anil Kumar, Shilpa J Buch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Scopus citations


Neurocognitive impairments affect a substantial population of HIV-1 infected individuals despite the success of anti-retroviral therapy in controlling viral replication. Astrocytes are emerging as a crucial cell type that might be playing a very important role in the persistence of neuroinflammation seen in patients suffering from HIV-1 associated neurocognitive disorders. HIV-1 viral proteins including Vpr exert neurotoxicity through direct and indirect mechanisms. Induction of IL-8 in microglial cells has been shown as one of the indirect mechanism through which Vpr reduces neuronal survival. We show that HIV-1 Vpr induces IL-6 and IL-8 in astrocytes in a time-dependent manner. Additional experiments utilizing chemical inhibitors and siRNA revealed that HIV-1 Vpr activates transcription factors NF-κB, AP-1 and C/EBP-δ via upstream protein kinases PI3K/Akt, p38-MAPK and Jnk-MAPK leading to the induction of IL-6 and IL-8 in astrocytes. We demonstrate that one of the mechanism for neuroinflammation seen in HIV-1 infected individuals involves induction of IL-6 and IL-8 by Vpr in astrocytes. Understanding the molecular pathways involved in the HIV-1 neuroinflammation would be helpful in the design of adjunct therapy to ameliorate some of the symptoms associated with HIV-1 neuropathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0135633
JournalPloS one
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 13 2015


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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