Author(s): Huang W, Rha GB, Chen L, Seelbach MJ, Zhang B,
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Abstract Telomerase, via its catalytic component telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT), extends telomeres of eukaryotic chromosomes. The importance of this reaction is related to the fact that telomere shortening is a rate-limiting mechanism for human life span that induces cell senescence and contributes to the development of age-related pathologies. The aim of the present study was to evaluate whether the modulation of telomerase activity can influence human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-mediated dysfunction of human brain endothelial cells (hCMEC/D3 cells) and transendothelial migration of HIV-1-infected cells. Telomerase activity was modulated in hCMEC/D3 cells via small interfering RNA-targeting human TERT (hTERT) or by using a specific pharmacological inhibitor of telomerase, TAG-6. The inhibition of hTERT resulted in the upregulation of HIV-1-induced overexpression of intercellular adhesion molecule-1 via the nuclear factor-kappaB-regulated mechanism and induced the transendothelial migration of HIV-1-infected monocytic U937 cells. In addition, the blocking of hTERT activity potentiated a HIV-induced downregulation of the expression of tight junction proteins. These results were confirmed in TERT-deficient mice injected with HIV-1-specific protein Tat into the cerebral vasculature. Further studies revealed that the upregulation of matrix metalloproteinase-9 is the underlying mechanisms of disruption of tight junction proteins in hCMEC/D3 cells with inhibited TERT and exposed to HIV-1. These results indicate that the senescence of brain endothelial cells may predispose to the HIV-induced upregulation of inflammatory mediators and the disruption of the barrier function at the level of the brain endothelium.
This article was published in Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol
and referenced in Virology & Mycology