Regulation of CD4 Receptor and HIV-1 Entry by MicroRNAs-221 and -222 during Differentiation of THP-1 Cells.

Research paper by Robert R Lodge, Julian C JC Gilmore, Jérémy A JA Ferreira Barbosa, Félix F Lombard-Vadnais, Éric A ÉA Cohen

Indexed on: 06 Jan '18Published on: 06 Jan '18Published in: Viruses


Human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1) infection of monocyte/macrophages is modulated by the levels of entry receptors cluster of differentiation 4 (CD4) and C-C chemokine receptor type 5 (CCR5), as well as by host antiviral restriction factors, which mediate several post-entry blocks. We recently identified two microRNAs, miR-221 and miR-222, which limit HIV-1 entry during infection of monocyte-derived macrophages (MDMs) by down-regulating CD4 expression. Interestingly, CD4 is also down-regulated during the differentiation of monocytes into macrophages. In this study, we compared microRNA expression profiles in primary monocytes and macrophages by RNAseq and found that miR-221/miR-222 are enhanced in macrophages. We took advantage of the monocytic THP-1 cell line that, once differentiated, is poorly susceptible to HIV-1. Accordingly, we found that CD4 levels are very low in THP-1 differentiated cells and that this down-regulation of the virus receptor is the result of miR-221/miR-222 up-regulation during differentiation. We thus established a THP-1 cell line stably expressing a modified CD4 (THP-1-CD4R) that is not modulated by miR-221/miR-222. We show that in contrast to parental THP-1, this line is productively infected by HIV-1 following differentiation, sustaining efficient HIV-1 CD4-dependent replication and spread. This new THP-1-CD4R cell line represents a useful tool for the study of HIV-1-macrophage interactions particularly in contexts where spreading of viral infection is necessary.