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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Interaction of the transactivating protein HIV-1 tat with sulphated polysaccharides.

Endogenous sulphated polysaccharides such as heparin have been shown to inhibit the infectivity of HIV-1 min vitro. However, these naturally occurring polymers, due to extensive microheterogeneity within their structure, are difficult to characterise accurately. In contrast, dextrin can be chemically sulphated to produce a series of compounds sulphated in the 2-, 3-, or 6- position, or in all 3 positions, and the use of these compounds provides an opportunity to investigate the anti-HIV-1 activity of sulphated polysaccharides. The mechanisms whereby sulphated polysaccharides exert their anti-HIV-1 activity have not been fully elucidated. The interaction of recombinant HIV-1 proteins with sulphated polysaccharides was investigated using a biotinylated derivative of dextrin 2-sulphate (D2S) in a solid phase binding system. D2S was found to bind strongly to HIV-1 tat (EC50 = 0.10 microg/mL), less strongly to CD4 (EC50 = 0.33 microg/mL), weakly to HIV-1 vif and gp160, and not at all to HIV-1 gp120 or p24. Other sulphated derivatives of dextrin, i.e. dextrin 3-sulphate, dextrin 6-sulphate and dextrin 2,3,6-trisulphate, as well as heparin and dextran sulphate, were also shown to bind to HIV-1 tat, whereas the unsulphated compound dextrin did not. Binding studies using a series of overlapping peptides representing the complete sequence of HIV-1 tat revealed that D2S bound most strongly to the core domain of HIV-1 tat, although there was also binding to the cysteine-rich domain; both of these regions are important for HIV-1 tat function. In assessing function, HIV-1 tat-mediated transactivation was measured using H938 cells, a cell line that contains the HIV-LTR (long terminal repeat) promoter linked to a chloramphenicol acetyltransferase gene. D2S significantly inhibited HIV-1 tat transactivation in a dose-dependent manner (IC50 = 0.5 microg/mL), whereas dextrin had no effect. The interaction between D2S and HIV-1 tat provides a potential mechanism of HIV-1 inhibition whereby tat is sequestered and its transactivating activity abolished, effectively inhibiting the replication cycle.[1]


  1. Interaction of the transactivating protein HIV-1 tat with sulphated polysaccharides. Watson, K., Gooderham, N.J., Davies, D.S., Edwards, R.J. Biochem. Pharmacol. (1999) [Pubmed]
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