Chlamydia trachomatis Stimulation Enhances HIV-1 Susceptibility through the Modulation of a Member of the Macrophage Inflammatory Proteins

J Invest Dermatol. 2021 Oct 15;S0022-202X(21)02318-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jid.2021.09.020. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Sexually transmitted infections such as Chlamydia trachomatis can enhance HIV-1 infection. However, the molecular mechanisms modulating the enhancement of HIV-1 infectivity and replication during HIV-1/sexually transmitted infections coinfection remain elusive. In this study, we performed an ex vivo infection of HIV-1 in PBMCs of C. trachomatis‒infected patients and observed a significant increase in HIV-1 p24 levels compared with those in cells from healthy donors. Similarly, C. trachomatis‒stimulated PBMCs from healthy donors showed enhanced susceptibility to HIV-1. C. trachomatis‒stimulated CD4 T cells also harbored more HIV-1 copy numbers. RNA sequencing data revealed the upregulation of CCL3L1/CCL3L3, a paralog of CCL3 in C. trachomatis‒stimulated CD4 T cells infected with HIV-1. Furthermore, an increase in CCL3L1/CCL3L3 expression levels correlated with HIV-1 replication in C. trachomatis‒stimulated cells. However, the addition of exogenous CCL3L1 reduces HIV-1 infection of healthy cells, indicating a dual role of CCL3L1 in HIV-1 infection. Further investigation revealed that a knockout of CCL3L1/CCL3L3 in Jurkat T cells rescued the increased susceptibility of C. trachomatis‒stimulated cells to HIV-1 infection. These results reveal a role for CCL3L1/CCL3L3 in enhancing HIV-1 replication and production and highlight a mechanism for the enhanced susceptibility to HIV-1 among C. trachomatis‒infected patients.