|HIV-1 Tat enhances replicative potential of human oral keratinocytes harboring HPV-16 genome|
Authors: Reuben H. Kim, Ji Min Yochim, Mo K. Kang, Ki-Hyuk Shin, Russell Christensen, No-Hee Park
UCLA School of Dentistry, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1668, USA
Introducing highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has significantly decreased the morbidity and mortality in human immunodeficiency virus-positive (HIV+) individuals by decreasing the viral loads and increasing the CD4+ T-cell counts. Subsequently, the occurrence of many HIV-associated diseases has been dramatically declined except human papillomavirus (HPV)-associated lesions. Such notion suggests that immune response is not a major determinant, and that the direct interaction between HIV and HPV may be involved in the HPV-associated pathogenesis. In the current study, we investigated whether HIV plays a direct role in HPV-associated oral carcinogenesis by using HIV-1 transactivator protein (Tat), which is known to have oncogenic properties. We found that HIV-1 Tat not only increased the expression of HPV-16 E6 and E7 oncogenes in human oral keratinocytes harboring the HPV type-16 genome (HOK-16B), but also notably enhanced the proliferative capacity of the cells in vitro. Moreover, HOK-16B cells expressing HIV-1 Tat was capable of inducing cystic nodules in nude mice, while the control HOK-16B cells failed to produce nodules in the mice. Our results indicate that HIV could play a role in the HPV-associated pathogenesis by exerting oncogenic stimulus via Tat protein.