HIV-1 genetic differences influence viral replication and progression to AIDS. HIV-1 circulating recombinant form (CRF)02_AG is the predominant viral subtype infecting humans in West and Central Africa, but its effects on HIV neuropathogenesis are not known. In the present study, we investigated the effects of Tat proteins from HIV-1 subtype B (Tat.B) and HIV-1 CRF02_AG (Tat.AG) on primary human brain microvascular endothelial cells (HBMEC), the major component of the blood-brain barrier (BBB). Using Affymetrix GeneChip Human Gene 1.0.ST arrays, we showed that Tat.AG had minimal effects while Tat.B induced transcriptional upregulation of 90 genes in HBMEC, including proinflammatory chemokines, complement components C3, C7, and complement factor B, matrix metalloproteinases (MMP)-3, MMP-10, and MMP-12. These results were confirmed by real-time PCR. Compared with Tat.AG, Tat.B significantly increased MMP-3, MMP-10, and MMP-12 activities in HBMEC, and the MMPs tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-2 blocked Tat-induced increase in MMPs activity. Western blot analyses also showed that Tat increased the expression of C3 and its cleaved fragment C3b in HBMEC. These data suggest that genetic differences between HIV-1 subtypes B and CRF02_AG influence the effects of Tat proteins from these two clades on HBMEC, including molecular and cellular functions, and canonical pathways, which would affect BBB dysfunction and viral neuropathogenesis.