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

HIV-1 Tat protein mimicry of chemokines.

The HIV-1 Tat protein is a potent chemoattractant for monocytes. We observed that Tat shows conserved amino acids corresponding to critical sequences of the chemokines, a family of molecules known for their potent ability to attract monocytes. Synthetic Tat and a peptide (CysL24-51) encompassing the "chemokine-like" region of Tat induced a rapid and transient Ca2+ influx in monocytes and macrophages, analogous to beta-chemokines. Both monocyte migration and Ca2+ mobilization were pertussis toxin sensitive and cholera toxin insensitive. Cross-desensitization studies indicated that Tat shares receptors with MCP-1, MCP-3, and eotaxin. Tat was able to displace binding of beta-chemokines from the beta-chemokine receptors CCR2 and CCR3, but not CCR1, CCR4, and CCR5. Direct receptor binding experiments with the CysL24-51 peptide confirmed binding to cells transfected with CCR2 and CCR3. HIV-1 Tat appears to mimic beta-chemokine features, which may serve to locally recruit chemokine receptor-expressing monocytes/macrophages toward HIV producing cells and facilitate activation and infection.[1]


  1. HIV-1 Tat protein mimicry of chemokines. Albini, A., Ferrini, S., Benelli, R., Sforzini, S., Giunciuglio, D., Aluigi, M.G., Proudfoot, A.E., Alouani, S., Wells, T.N., Mariani, G., Rabin, R.L., Farber, J.M., Noonan, D.M. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (1998) [Pubmed]
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