Epigenetic Control Of Irf1 Responses In HIV-exposed Seronegative Versus HIV-susceptible Individuals.
Jaoko Walter G.
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Not all individuals exposed to HIV become infected. Understanding why these HIV-exposed seronegative individuals remain uninfected will help inform the development of preventative measures against HIV infection. Interferon regulatory factor-1 (IRF1) plays a critical role both in host antiviral immunity and in HIV-1 replication. This study examined IRF1 expression regulation in the ex vivo peripheral blood mononuclear cells of HIV-exposed seronegative commercial sex workers who can be epidemiologically defined as relatively resistant to HIV infection (HIV-R), versus HIV-uninfected, susceptible controls (HIV-S). Whereas HIV-susceptible individuals demonstrated a biphasic, prolonged increase in IRF1 expression after interferon-γ stimulation, HIV-R individuals demonstrated a robust, but transient response. We also found that the IRF1 promoter in HIV-R was primed by increased basal histone deacetylase-2 binding, independently of transcription regulators, STAT1 and nuclear factor-κB/p65, implicating an epigenetic silencing mechanism. Interestingly, the transitory IRF1 response in HIV-R was sufficient in comparable regulation of interleukin-12 and interleukin-4 expression compared with the HIV-susceptible controls. This is the first study characterizing IRF1 responsiveness in individuals who demonstrate altered susceptibility to HIV infection. These data suggest that transitory IRF1 responsiveness in HIV-R may be one of the key contributors to the altered susceptibility to HIV infection during the early stages of primary HIV infection