BACKGROUND: HIV-1 replication depends on a delicate balance between cellular co-factors and antiviral restriction factors. Lens epithelium-derived growth factor (LEDGF/p75) benefits HIV, whereas apolipoprotein B mRNA-editing catalytic polypeptide-like 3G (APOBEC3G), tripartite motif 5alpha (TRIM5alpha), and tetherin exert anti-HIV activity. Expression levels of these proteins possibly contribute to HIV-1 resistance in HIV-1-exposed populations. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We used real-time PCR and flow cytometry to study mRNA and protein levels respectively in PBMC and PBMC subsets. We observed significantly reduced LEDGF/p75 protein levels in CD4+ lymphocytes of HIV-1-exposed seronegative subjects relative to healthy controls, whereas we found no differences in APOBEC3G, TRIM5alpha, or tetherin expression. Untreated HIV-1-infected patients generally expressed higher mRNA and protein levels than healthy controls. Increased tetherin levels, in particular, correlated with markers of disease progression: directly with the viral load and T cell activation and inversely with the CD4 count. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Our data suggest that reduced LEDGF/p75 levels may play a role in resistance to HIV-1 infection, while increased tetherin levels could be a marker of advanced HIV disease. Host factors that influence HIV-1 infection and disease could be important targets for new antiviral therapies.
- Viral diseases