Nutrition, HIV, and Drug Abuse: The Molecular Basis of a Unique Role for Selenium

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Ethan W Taylor, Senior Research Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: HIV-infected injection drug users (IDUs) often suffer from serious nutritional deficiencies. This is a concern because plasma levels of micronutrients such as vitamin B12, zinc, and selenium have been correlated with mortality risk in HIV-positive populations. Injection drug use also increases lipid peroxidation and other indicators of oxidative stress, which, combined with antioxidant deficiencies, can stimulate HIV-1 replication through activation of NF-?B transcription factors, while weakening immune defenses. As detailed herein, these prooxidant stimuli can also increase the pathogenic effects of HIV-1 by another mechanism, involving viral selenoproteins. Overlapping the envelope coding region, HIV-1 encodes a truncated glutathione peroxidase (GPx) gene (see #6 in reference list). Sequence analysis and molecular modeling show that this viral GPx (vGPx) module has highly significant structural similarity to known mammalian GPx, with conservation of the catalytic triad of selenocysteine (Sec), glutamine, and tryptophan. In addition to other functions, HIV-1 vGPx may serve as a negative regulator of proviral transcription, by acting as an NF-?B inhibitor (a known property of cellular GPx). Another potential selenoprotein coding function of HIV-1 is associated with the 3' end of the nef gene, which terminates in a conserved UGA (potential Sec) codon in the context of a sequence (Cys-Sec) identical to the C-terminal redox center of thioredoxin reductase, another cellular regulator of NF-?B. Thus, in combination with known cellular mechanisms involving Se, viral selenoproteins may represent a unique mechanism by which HIV-1 monitors and exploits an essential micronutrient to optimize its replication relative to the host.

Additional Information

JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, 25, S53–S61
Language: English
Date: 2000
Glutathione peroxidase, HIV, NF-kappaB, Selenium, Selenoprotein

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