The EGF epidermal growth factor counteracts Tat modulation of human endogenous retroviruses of the W family in astrocytes

J Neurovirol. 2017 Aug;23(4):587-592. doi: 10.1007/s13365-017-0531-2. Epub 2017 May 4.


Human astrocyte cells were exposed to HIV-Tat and/or epidermal growth factor (EGF), to monitor the expression of the neuropathogenic MSRV and Syncytin-1 elements of the HERV-W family of endogenous retroviruses and of TNFα. The results indicate that EGF counteracts Tat regulation of HERV-W/MSRVenv/Syncytin-1, throughout EGFR activation; this effect occurs by interfering with the induction of TNFα production by Tat. The novel effect of EGF counteraction of Tat-mediated regulation of the neuropathogenic HERV-Ws could be neuro-protective, but its actual role in the brain remains to be elucidated.

Keywords: Epidermal growth factor (EGF); Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR); HERV-W/MSRV/Syncytin-1 human endogenous retroviruses; NeuroAIDS/neuropathogenicity; Tat; Tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα).

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / pharmacology
  • Astrocytes / drug effects
  • Astrocytes / virology*
  • Cell Line
  • Endogenous Retroviruses / genetics*
  • Endogenous Retroviruses / growth & development
  • Endogenous Retroviruses / metabolism
  • Epidermal Growth Factor / pharmacology*
  • ErbB Receptors / genetics
  • ErbB Receptors / metabolism
  • Fetus
  • Gene Products, env / genetics
  • Gene Products, env / metabolism
  • HIV Antibodies / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Lipopolysaccharides / pharmacology
  • Pregnancy Proteins / genetics
  • Pregnancy Proteins / metabolism
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / pharmacology
  • tat Gene Products, Human Immunodeficiency Virus / antagonists & inhibitors
  • tat Gene Products, Human Immunodeficiency Virus / pharmacology*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Gene Products, env
  • HIV Antibodies
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Pregnancy Proteins
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • syncytin
  • tat Gene Products, Human Immunodeficiency Virus
  • Epidermal Growth Factor
  • EGFR protein, human
  • ErbB Receptors