Mutational Analysis of the HIV-1 Tat Protein and its Role in Downregulating CD127 on CD8 T Cells

Title: Mutational Analysis of the HIV-1 Tat Protein and its Role in Downregulating CD127 on CD8 T Cells
Authors: Sugden, Scott M.
Date: 2013
Abstract: HIV Tat protein downregulates surface expression of the interleukin-7 receptor alpha-chain (CD127) on CD8 T cells resulting in impaired T cell proliferation and cytolytic capacity. Once taken up by CD8 T cells, Tat binds directly to the cytoplasmic tail of CD127 inducing receptor internalization and degradation. Given the important roles of CD127 in proper immune function, the Tat/CD127 interactions were characterized and the mechanisms required to induce receptor loss from the surface of CD8 T cells were investigated. Tat deletion mutants were generated each sequentially lacking a region of the protein. CD8 T cells isolated from HIV negative volunteers were exposed to exogenous or intracellular Tat proteins before surface CD127 expression was analyzed by flow cytometry. To characterize Tat/CD127 physical interactions, wild type Tat and Tat mutants were incubated with lysates from a CD127+ Jurkat cell line followed by CD127/Tat co-immunoprecipitation. The effect of Tat on CD127 post-translational modifications was also investigated. Removal of the N-terminus of Tat (aa 1-10 or aa 17-21) prevented Tat from downregulating CD127 and prevented Tat from binding CD127 as assessed by co-immunoprecipitation. Deletion of the basic region (aa 48-59) also prevented Tat from downregulating CD127 but did not prevent Tat from interacting physically as demonstrated by co-immunoprecipitation. Strikingly, endogenously expressed Basic Tat acted as a dominant negative mutant, causing an accumulation of CD127 at the cell surface. These observations suggest that Tat may bind CD127 via its N-terminus to disrupt the normal recycling of the receptor, and then recruit cellular endocytic machinery to the receptor via it’s basic region, to remove the receptor from the cell surface and target it for degradation. Furthermore, Tat encourages the ubiquitination of CD127 by recruiting the cytokine-inducible SH2 containing (CIS) protein to the receptor, possibly leading to accelerated CD127 internalization and proteasomal degradation. I propose a model whereby Tat binds CD127 via its N-terminal region then recruits CIS via its basic region. CIS in turn recruits a cellular E3 ubiquitin ligase to ubiquitin tag the receptor for internalization and proteasome degradation. This research may lead to novel treatments designed to maintain IL-7 signalling and strengthen CD8 T cell function in HIV+ persons.
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -