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Viruses 2016, 8(6), 98; doi:10.3390/v8060098

Identification of Vimentin as a Potential Therapeutic Target against HIV Infection

Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Ave 31/158 and 190, Cubanacán, Playa, P.O. Box 6162, Havana 10600, Cuba
Laboratory for AIDS Research, Carretera de Tapaste y Autopista Nacional, San José de las Lajas, Mayabeque CP 32700, Cuba
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Eric O. Freed
Received: 1 October 2015 / Revised: 1 April 2016 / Accepted: 6 April 2016 / Published: 15 June 2016
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A combination of antiviral drugs known as antiretroviral therapy (ART) has shown effectiveness against the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). ART has markedly decreased mortality and morbidity among HIV-infected patients, having even reduced HIV transmission. However, an important current disadvantage, resistance development, remains to be solved. Hope is focused on developing drugs against cellular targets. This strategy is expected to prevent the emergence of viral resistance. In this study, using a comparative proteomic approach in MT4 cells treated with an anti-HIV leukocyte extract, we identified vimentin, a molecule forming intermediate filaments in the cell, as a possible target against HIV infection. We demonstrated a strong reduction of an HIV-1 based lentivirus expressing the enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP) in vimentin knockdown cells, and a noteworthy decrease of HIV-1 capsid protein antigen (CAp24) in those cells using a multiround infectivity assay. Electron micrographs showed changes in the structure of intermediate filaments when MT4 cells were treated with an anti-HIV leukocyte extract. Changes in the structure of intermediate filaments were also observed in vimentin knockdown MT4 cells. A synthetic peptide derived from a cytoskeleton protein showed potent inhibitory activity on HIV-1 infection, and low cytotoxicity. Our data suggest that vimentin can be a suitable target to inhibit HIV-1. View Full-Text
Keywords: leukocyte extract; vimentin; intermediate filaments; cytoskeleton; HIV; anti-HIV activity; proteomics leukocyte extract; vimentin; intermediate filaments; cytoskeleton; HIV; anti-HIV activity; proteomics

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Fernández-Ortega, C.; Ramírez, A.; Casillas, D.; Paneque, T.; Ubieta, R.; Dubed, M.; Navea, L.; Castellanos-Serra, L.; Duarte, C.; Falcon, V.; Reyes, O.; Garay, H.; Silva, E.; Noa, E.; Ramos, Y.; Besada, V.; Betancourt, L. Identification of Vimentin as a Potential Therapeutic Target against HIV Infection. Viruses 2016, 8, 98.

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