Modifications in host cell cytoskeleton structure and function mediated by intracellular HIV-1 Tat protein are greatly dependent on the second coding exon

Nucleic Acids Res. 2010 Jun;38(10):3287-307. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkq037. Epub 2010 Feb 5.


The human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) regulator Tat is essential for viral replication because it achieves complete elongation of viral transcripts. Tat can be released to the extracellular space and taken up by adjacent cells, exerting profound cytoskeleton rearrangements that lead to apoptosis. In contrast, intracellular Tat has been described as protector from apoptosis. Tat gene is composed by two coding exons that yield a protein of 101 amino acids (aa). First exon (1-72aa) is sufficient for viral transcript elongation and second exon (73-101 aa) appears to contribute to non-transcriptional functions. We observed that Jurkat cells stably expressing intracellular Tat101 showed gene expression deregulation 4-fold higher than cells expressing Tat72. Functional experiments were performed to evaluate the effect of this deregulation. First, NF-kappaB-, NF-AT- and Sp1-dependent transcriptional activities were greatly enhanced in Jurkat-Tat101, whereas Tat72 induced milder but efficient activation. Second, cytoskeleton-related functions as cell morphology, proliferation, chemotaxis, polarization and actin polymerization were deeply altered in Jurkat-Tat101, but not in Jurkat-Tat72. Finally, expression of several cell surface receptors was dramatically impaired by intracellular Tat101 but not by Tat72. Consequently, these modifications were greatly dependent on Tat second exon and they could be related to the anergy observed in HIV-1-infected T cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Proliferation
  • Chemotaxis
  • Computational Biology
  • Cytoskeleton / ultrastructure*
  • Exons
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • HIV-1*
  • Humans
  • Jurkat Cells
  • Models, Molecular
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / metabolism
  • Transcriptional Activation
  • tat Gene Products, Human Immunodeficiency Virus / chemistry*
  • tat Gene Products, Human Immunodeficiency Virus / genetics
  • tat Gene Products, Human Immunodeficiency Virus / metabolism


  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • tat Gene Products, Human Immunodeficiency Virus
  • tat peptide (1-72), Human immunodeficiency virus 1