Tat protein of HIV-1 stimulates growth of cells derived from Kaposi's sarcoma lesions of AIDS patients

Nature. 1990 May 3;345(6270):84-6. doi: 10.1038/345084a0.


Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) is frequently associated with human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) infection. Supernatants from HIV-1-infected T cells carrying the CD4 antigen promote the growth of cells derived from KS lesions of AIDS patients (AIDS-KS cells), and the HIV-1 tat gene, introduced into the germ line of mice, induces skin lesions closely resembling KS. Here we report that the tat gene product (Tat) is released from both HIV-1-acutely infected H9 cells and tat-transfected COS-1 cells. These Tat-containing supernatants specifically promote growth of AIDS-KS cells which are inhibited by anti-Tat antibodies; recombinant Tat has the same growth-promoting properties. Therefore a viral regulatory gene product can be released as a biologically active protein and directly act as a growth stimulator. These and previous data indicate that extracellular Tat could be involved in the development or progression, or both, of KS in HIV-1-infected individuals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / complications*
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Line
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Gene Expression
  • Gene Products, tat / genetics
  • Gene Products, tat / physiology*
  • HIV-1 / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Immunosorbent Techniques
  • Recombinant Proteins / pharmacology
  • Sarcoma, Kaposi / etiology
  • Sarcoma, Kaposi / pathology*
  • Trans-Activators / physiology*
  • Transfection
  • tat Gene Products, Human Immunodeficiency Virus


  • Gene Products, tat
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Trans-Activators
  • tat Gene Products, Human Immunodeficiency Virus