HIV-1 matrix protein p17 misfolding forms toxic amyloidogenic assemblies that induce neurocognitive disorders

Yasmin Zeinolabediny, Francesca Caccuri, Laura Colombo, Federica Morelli, Margherita Romeo, Alessandro Rossi, Silvia Schiarea, Carlotta Ciaramelli, Cristina Airoldi, Ria Weston, Liu Donghui, Jerzy Krupinski, Rubén Corpas, Elisa García-Lara, Sara Sarroca, Coral Sanfeliu, Mark Slevin, Arnaldo Caruso, Mario Salmona, Luisa Diomede

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1)-Associated neurocognitive disorder (HAND) remains an important neurological manifestation that adversely affects a patient's quality of life. HIV-1 matrix protein p17 (p17) has been detected in autoptic brain tissue of HAND individuals who presented early with severe AIDS encephalopathy. We hypothesised that the ability of p17 to misfold may result in the generation of toxic assemblies in the brain and may be relevant for HAND pathogenesis. A multidisciplinary integrated approach has been applied to determine the ability of p17 to form soluble amyloidogenic assemblies in vitro. To provide new information into the potential pathogenic role of soluble p17 species in HAND, their toxicological capability was evaluated in vivo. In C. elegans, capable of recognising toxic assemblies of amyloidogenic proteins, p17 induces a specific toxic effect which can be counteracted by tetracyclines, drugs able to hinder the formation of large oligomers and consequently amyloid fibrils. The intrahippocampal injection of p17 in mice reduces their cognitive function and induces behavioral deficiencies. These findings offer a new way of thinking about the possible cause of neurodegeneration in HIV-1-seropositive patients, which engages the ability of p17 to form soluble toxic assemblies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10313
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2017


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

Cite this

Zeinolabediny, Y., Caccuri, F., Colombo, L., Morelli, F., Romeo, M., Rossi, A., Schiarea, S., Ciaramelli, C., Airoldi, C., Weston, R., Donghui, L., Krupinski, J., Corpas, R., García-Lara, E., Sarroca, S., Sanfeliu, C., Slevin, M., Caruso, A., Salmona, M., & Diomede, L. (2017). HIV-1 matrix protein p17 misfolding forms toxic amyloidogenic assemblies that induce neurocognitive disorders. Scientific Reports, 7(1), [10313].