HIV-1 Tat protein mimicry of chemokines

Adriana Albini, Silvano Ferrini, Roberto Benelli, Sabrina Sforzini, Daniela Giunciuglio, Maria Grazia Aluigi, Amanda E I Proudfoot, Sami Alouani, Timothy N C Wells, Giuliano Mariani, Ronald L. Rabin, Joshua M. Farber, Douglas M. Noonan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The HIV-1 Tat protein is a potent chemoattractant for monocytes. We observed that Tat shows conserved amino acids corresponding to critical sequences of the chemokines, a family of molecules known for their potent ability to attract monocytes. Synthetic Tat and a peptide (CysL24-51 encompassing the 'chemokine-like' region of Tat induced a rapid and transient Ca2+ influx in monocytes and macrophages, analogous to β-chemokines. Both monocyte migration and Ca2+ mobilization were pertussis toxin sensitive and cholera toxin insensitive. Cross-desensitization studies indicated that Tat shares receptors with MCP-1, MCP-3, and eotaxin. Tat was able to displace binding of β-chemokines from the β-chemokine receptors CCR2 and CCR3, but not CCR1, CCR4, and CCRS. Direct receptor binding experiments with the CysL24-51 peptide confirmed binding to cells transfected with CCR2 and CC10. HIV-1 Tat appears to mimic β-chemokine features, which may serve to locally recruit chemokine receptor-expressing monocytes/macrophages toward HIV producing cells and facilitate activation and infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13153-13158
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - Oct 27 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • General

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