The human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) initiates receptor signaling and early actin dynamics during viral entry. This process is required for viral infection of primary targets such as resting CD4 T cells. WAVE2 is a component of a multiprotein complex linking receptor signaling to dynamic remodeling of the actin cytoskeleton. WAVE2 directly activates Arp2/3, leading to actin nucleation and filament branching. Although several bacterial and viral pathogens target Arp2/3 for intracellular mobility, it remains unknown whether HIV-1 actively modulates the Arp2/3 complex through virus-mediated receptor signal transduction. Here we report that HIV-1 triggers WAVE2 phosphorylation at serine 351 through gp120 binding to the chemokine coreceptor CXCR4 or CCR5 during entry. This phosphorylation event involves both Gαi-dependent and -independent pathways, and is conserved both in X4 and R5 viral infection of resting CD4 T cells and primary macrophages. We further demonstrate that inhibition of WAVE2-mediated Arp2/3 activity through stable shRNA knockdown of Arp3 dramatically diminished HIV-1 infection of CD4 T cells, preventing viral nuclear migration. Inhibition of Arp2/3 through a specific inhibitor, CK548, also drastically inhibited HIV-1 nuclear migration and infection of CD4 T cells. Our results suggest that Arp2/3 and the upstream regulator, WAVE2, are essential co-factors hijacked by HIV for intracellular migration, and may serve as novel targets to prevent HIV transmission.
Keywords: Arp2/3; CCR5; CD4; HIV-1; Immunology; Microbiology; Signal Transduction; Virology; Wav2.