Recombinant human (rh) ERAP2-treated PBMCs are less susceptible to in vitro HIV-1 infection even when CD8+T cells are depleted. We therefore investigated whether ERAP2 can trigger other immunocompetent cells, boosting their antiviral potential. To this end, human monocyte-derived macrophages (MDMs) differentiated from PBMCs of 15 healthy donors were in vitro HIV-1 infected in the presence/absence of 100 ng/ml of rhERAP2, rhERAP1, or rhERAP1+rhERAP2. Notably, rhERAP2 treatment resulted in a 7-fold reduction of HIV-1 replication in MDMs (p < 0.05). This antiviral activity was associated with an increased mRNA expression of CD80, IL-1b, IL-18, and TNF-a (p < 0.01 for cytokine) in in vitro ERAP2-treated HIV-1-infected MDMs and a greater release of IL-1b, TNF-a, IL-6, and IL-8 (p < 0.01 for each cytokine). The rhERAPs addition also induced the functional inflammasome activation by ASC speck formation in monocytes (p < 0.01) and in THP1-derived macrophages (p < 0.01) as well as a rise in the percentage of activated classical (CD14+CD162HLA-DRII+CCR7+) and intermediate (CD14++CD16+HLA-DRII+CCR7+) monocytes (p < 0.02). Finally, THP-1-derived macrophages showed an increased phagocytosis following all ERAPs treatments. The discovery that ERAPs are able to trigger several antiviral mechanisms in monocyte/macrophages suggests that their anti-HIV potential is not limited to their canonical role in Ag presentation and CD8+T cell activation. These findings pose the premise to further investigate the role of ERAPs in both innate and adaptive immunostimulatory pathways and suggest their potential use in novel preventive and therapeutic approaches against HIV-1 infection.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy