• Authors: Buitendijk, M., Eszterhas, S. K., Howell, A. L.
  • Year: 2014
  • Journal: AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses 30 457-67
  • Applications: in vitro / oligonucleotide, ssRNA / INTERFERin
  • Cell type: Human PBMC
    Description: Human peripheral blood mononuclear cells


Innate immune responses to microbial pathogens are initiated following the binding of ligand to specific pattern recognition receptors. Each pattern recognition receptor, which includes members of the Toll-like receptor (TLR) family, is specific for a particular type of pathogen associated molecular pattern ensuring that the organism can respond rapidly to a wide range of pathogens including bacteria, viruses, and fungi. We studied the extent to which agonists to endosomal TLR could induce anti-HIV-1 activity in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). When agonists to TLR3, TLR7, TLR8 and TLR9 were added prior to infection with HIV-1, they significantly reduced infection of peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Interestingly, agonists to TLR8 and TLR9 were highly effective at blocking HIV replication even when added as late as 48 h or 72 h, respectively, after HIV-1 infection, indicating that the anti-viral effect was durable and long lasting. Analysis of the induction of anti-viral genes after agonist activation of TLR indicated that all of the agonists induced expression of the type I interferons and interferon stimulated genes, although to variable levels that depended on the agonist used. Interestingly, only the agonist to TLR9, ODN2395 DNA, induced expression of type II interferon and the anti-HIV proteins Apobec3G and SAMHD1. By blocking TLR activity using an inhibitor to the MyD88 adaptor protein, we demonstrated that, at least for TLR8 and TLR9, the anti-HIV activity was not entirely mediated by TLR activation, but likely by the activation of additional anti-viral sensors in HIV target cells. These findings suggest that agonists to the endosomal TLR function to induce expression of anti-HIV molecules by both TLR-mediated and non-TLR-mediated mechanisms. Moreover, the non-TLR-mediated mechanisms induced by these agonists could potentially be exploited to block HIV-1 replication in recently HIV-exposed individuals.