SAMHD1 Impairs HIV-1 Gene Expression and Negatively Modulates Reactivation of Viral Latency in CD4 + T-cells.

Research paper by Jenna M JM Antonucci, Sun Hee SH Kim, Corine C St Gelais, Serena S Bonifati, Tai-Wei TW Li, Olga O Buzovetsky, Kirsten M KM Knecht, Alice A AA Duchon, Yong Y Xiong, Karin K Musier-Forsyth, Li L Wu

Indexed on: 26 May '18Published on: 26 May '18Published in: Journal of virology


Sterile alpha motif and HD domain-containing protein 1 (SAMHD1) restricts human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) replication in non-dividing cells by degrading intracellular deoxynucleoside triphosphates (dNTPs). SAMHD1 is highly expressed in resting CD4 T-cells that are important for the HIV-1 reservoir and viral latency; however, whether SAMHD1 affects HIV-1 latency is unknown. Recombinant SAMHD1 binds HIV-1 DNA or RNA fragments , but the function of this binding remains unclear. Here we investigate the effect of SAMHD1 on HIV-1 gene expression and reactivation of viral latency. We found that endogenous SAMHD1 impaired HIV-1 LTR activity in monocytic THP-1 cells and HIV-1 reactivation in latently infected primary CD4 T-cells. Overexpression of wild-type (WT) SAMHD1 suppressed HIV-1 long terminal repeat (LTR)-driven gene expression at a transcriptional level. Tat co-expression abrogated SAMHD1-mediated suppression of HIV-1 LTR-driven luciferase expression. SAMHD1 overexpression also suppressed LTR activity of human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1), but not from murine leukemia virus (MLV), suggesting specific suppression of retroviral LTR-driven gene expression. WT SAMHD1 bound to proviral DNA and impaired reactivation of HIV-1 gene expression in latently infected J-Lat cells. In contrast, a nonphosphorylated mutant (T592A) and a dNTP triphosphohydrolase (dNTPase) inactive mutant (H206D/R207N, or HD/RN) of SAMHD1 failed to efficiently suppress HIV-1 LTR-driven gene expression and reactivation of latent virus. Purified recombinant WT SAMHD1, but not T592A and HD/RN mutants, bound to fragments of the HIV-1 LTR These findings suggest that SAMHD1-mediated suppression of HIV-1 LTR-driven gene expression potentially regulates viral latency in CD4 T-cells. A critical barrier to developing a cure for HIV-1 infection is the long-lived viral reservoir that exists in resting CD4 T-cells, the main targets of HIV-1. The viral reservoir is maintained through a variety of mechanisms, including regulation of the HIV-1 LTR promoter. The host protein SAMHD1 restricts HIV-1 replication in non-dividing cells, but its role in HIV-1 latency remains unknown. Here we report a new function of SAMHD1 in regulating HIV-1 latency. We found that SAMHD1 suppressed HIV-1 LTR promoter-driven gene expression and reactivation of viral latency in cell lines and primary CD4 T-cells. Furthermore, SAMHD1 bound to the HIV-1 LTR and in a latently infected CD4 T-cell line, suggesting that the binding may negatively modulate reactivation of HIV-1 latency. Our findings indicate a novel role for SAMHD1 in regulating HIV-1 latency, which enhances our understanding of the mechanisms regulating proviral gene expression in CD4 T-cells. Copyright © 2018 American Society for Microbiology.