Tat-human immunodeficiency virus-1 induces human monocyte chemotaxis by activation of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-1

Stefania Mitola, Silvano Sozzani, Walter Luini, Luca Primo, Alessandro Borsatti, Herbert Weich, Federico Bussolino

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Human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) Tat protein can be released by infected cells and activates mesenchymal cells. Among these, monocytes respond to Tat by migrating into tissues and releasing inflammatory mediators. In the present study, we have examined the molecular mechanism of monocyte activation by Tat, showing that this viral protein signals inside the cells through the tyrosine kinase receptor for vascular endothelial growth factor encoded by fms-like tyrosine kinase gene (VEGFR-1/Flt-1). Subnanomolar concentrations of Tat induced monocyte chemotaxis, which was inhibited by cell preincubation with vascular-endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A). This desensitisation was specific for VEGF-A, because it not was observed with FMLP. In addition, the soluble form of VEGFR-1 specifically inhibited polarization and migration induced by Tat and VEGF-A, thus confirming the common use of this receptor. Binding studies performed at equilibrium by using radiolabeled Tat showed that monocytes expressed a unique class of binding site, with a kd of approximately 0.2 nmol/L. The binding of radio-labeled Tat to monocyte surface and the cross-linking to a protein of 150 kD was inhibited specifically by an excess of cold Tat or VEGF-A. Western blot analysis with an antibody anti-VEGFR-1/Flt-1 performed on monocyte phosphoproteins immunoprecipitated by an monoclonal antibody antiphosphotyrosine showed that Tat induced a rapid phosphorylation in tyrosine residue of the 150-kD VEGFR-1/Flt-1. Taken together, these results suggest that biologic activities of HIV-1 Tat in human monocytes may, at least in part, be elicited by activation of VEGFR-1/Flt-1.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1365-1372
Number of pages8
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 15 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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