Host MicroRNAs-221 and -222 Inhibit HIV-1 Entry in Macrophages by Targeting the CD4 Viral Receptor.

Research paper by Robert R Lodge, Jérémy A JA Ferreira Barbosa, Félix F Lombard-Vadnais, Julian C JC Gilmore, Alexandre A Deshiere, Annie A Gosselin, Tomas Raul TR Wiche Salinas, Mariana G MG Bego, Christopher C Power, Jean-Pierre JP Routy, Petronela P Ancuta, Michel J MJ Tremblay, Éric A ÉA Cohen

Indexed on: 06 Oct '17Published on: 06 Oct '17Published in: Cell Reports


Macrophages are heterogeneous immune cells with distinct origins, phenotypes, functions, and tissue localization. Their susceptibility to HIV-1 is subject to variations from permissiveness to resistance, owing in part to regulatory microRNAs. Here, we used RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) to examine the expression of >400 microRNAs in productively infected and bystander cells of HIV-1-exposed macrophage cultures. Two microRNAs upregulated in bystander macrophages, miR-221 and miR-222, were identified as negative regulators of CD4 expression and CD4-mediated HIV-1 entry. Both microRNAs were enhanced by tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), an inhibitor of CD4 expression. MiR-221/miR-222 inhibitors recovered HIV-1 entry in TNF-α-treated macrophages by enhancing CD4 expression and increased HIV-1 replication and spread in macrophages by countering TNF-α-enhanced miR-221/miR-222 expression in bystander cells. In line with these findings, HIV-1-resistant intestinal myeloid cells express higher levels of miR-221 than peripheral blood monocytes. Thus, miR-221/miR-222 act as effectors of the antiviral host response activated during macrophage infection that restrict HIV-1 entry.