Virology, Nebraska Center for


Date of this Version

September 2004


Published in JOURNAL OF VIROLOGY, Sept. 2004, p. 9697–9704 Vol. 78, No. 18. 0022-538X DOI: 10.1128/JVI.78.18.9697–9704.2004 Copyright © 2004, American Society for Microbiology. Used by permission.


Viral protein R (Vpr) of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is an accessory protein that plays an important role in viral pathogenesis. This pathogenic activity of Vpr is related in part to its capacity to induce cell cycle G2 arrest and apoptosis of target T cells. A screening for multicopy suppressors of these Vpr activities in fission yeast identified heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70) as a suppressor of Vpr-induced cell cycle arrest. Hsp70 is a member of a family of molecular chaperones involved in innate immunity and protection from environmental stress. In this report, we demonstrate that HIV-1 infection induces Hsp70 in target cells. Overexpression of Hsp70 reduced the Vpr-dependent G2 arrest and apoptosis and also reduced replication of the Vpr-positive, but not Vpr-deficient, HIV-1. Suppression of Hsp70 expression by RNA interference (RNAi) resulted in increased apoptosis of cells infected with a Vpr-positive, but not Vpr-defective, HIV-1. Replication of the Vpr-positive HIV-1 was also increased when Hsp70 expression was diminished. Vpr and Hsp70 coimmunoprecipitated from HIV-infected cells. Together, these results identify Hsp70 as a novel anti-HIV innate immunity factor that targets HIV-1 Vpr.

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