HIV-1 gp120 influences the expression of microRNAs in human monocyte-derived dendritic cells via STAT3 activation

Andrea Masotti, Gloria Donninelli, Letizia Da Sacco, Barbara Varano, Manuela Del Cornò, Sandra Gessani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: MicroRNAs (miRs) are an abundant class of small non-coding RNAs (~22 nt) that reprogram gene expression by targeting mRNA degradation and translational disruption. An emerging concept implicates miR coupling with transcription factors in myeloid cell development and function, thus contributing to host defense and inflammation. The important role that these molecules play in the pathogenesis of HIV-1 is only now emerging. Results: We provide evidence that exposure of monocyte-derived dendritic cells (MDDCs) to recombinant HIV-1 R5 gp120, but not to CCR5 natural ligand CCL4, influences the expression of a panel of miRs (i.e., miR-21, miR-155 and miR-181b) regulated by STAT3 and potentially targeting genes belonging to the STAT3 signaling pathway. The blockage of gp120-induced STAT3 activation impairs gp120 capacity to modulate the expression level of above mentioned miRs. Predictive analysis of miR putative targets emphasizes that these miRs share common target genes. Furthermore, gene ontology and pathway enrichment analysis outline that these genes mainly belong to biological processes related to regulation of transcription, in a complex network of interactions involving pathways relevant to HIV-DC interaction. Conclusions: Overall, these results point to gp120-triggered modulation of miR expression via STAT3 activation as a novel molecular mechanism exploited by HIV-1 to affect DC biology and thus modulate the immune response through complex regulatory loops involving, at the same time, miRs and transcription factors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number480
JournalBMC Genomics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 27 2015


  • Dendritic cell
  • gp120
  • HIV-1
  • microRNA
  • STAT3

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Genetics


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