Induction of Fas Ligand Expression by HIV Involves the Interaction of Nef with the T Cell Receptor ζ Chain
Xu X-N., Laffert B., Screaton GR., Kraft M., Wolf D., Kolanus W., Mongkolsapay J., McMichael AJ., Baur AS.
During HIV/SIV infection, there is widespread programmed cell death in infected and, perhaps more importantly, uninfected cells. Much of this apoptosis is mediated by Fas–Fas ligand (FasL) interactions. Previously we demonstrated in macaques that induction of FasL expression and apoptotic cell death of both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells by SIV is dependent on a functional nef gene. However, the molecular mechanism whereby HIV-1 induces the expression of FasL remained poorly understood. Here we report a direct association of HIV-1 Nef with the ζ chain of the T cell receptor (TCR) complex and the requirement of both proteins for HIV-mediated upregulation of FasL. Expression of FasL through Nef depended upon the integrity of the immunoreceptor tyrosine-based activation motifs (ITAMs) of the TCR ζ chain. Conformation for the importance of ζ for Nef-mediated signaling in T cells came from an independent finding. A single ITAM motif of ζ but not CD3ε was both required and sufficient to promote activation and binding of the Nef-associated kinase (NAK/p62). Our data imply that Nef can form a signaling complex with the TCR, which bypasses the requirement of antigen to initiate T cell activation and subsequently upregulation of FasL expression. Thus, our study may provide critical insights into the molecular mechanism whereby the HIV-1 accessory protein Nef contributes to the pathogenesis of HIV.