HIV associated neurodegeneration requires p53 in neurons and microglia

TitleHIV associated neurodegeneration requires p53 in neurons and microglia
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsGarden, GA, Guo, W, Jayadev, S, Tun, C, Balcaitis, S, Choi, J, Montine, TJ, Moller, T, Morrison, RS
JournalThe FASEB Journal: Official Publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
Date Published07/2004
KeywordsCCR5, Cells, Coculture Techniques, Cultured, External, Genes, Knockout, Mice, p53, Receptors, Recombinant Proteins, Signal Transduction, Single-Blind Method

HIV infection of the central nervous system leads to HIV-associated dementia (HAD) in a substantial subset of infected individuals. The pathogenesis of neuronal dysfunction in HAD is not well understood, but previous studies have demonstrated evidence for activation of apoptotic pathways. The tumor suppressor transcription factor p53 is an apical mediator of neuronal apoptosis following a variety of injurious stimuli. To determine whether p53 participates in HAD, we exposed cerebrocortical cultures from wild-type and p53 deficient mice to the neurotoxic HIV envelope protein gp120. Using neuron/microglia co-culture of mixed p53 genotype, we observed that both neurons and microglia require p53 for gp120 induced neuronal apoptosis. Additionally, accumulation of p53 protein in neurons was recently reported in post-mortem cortical tissue from a small group of HAD patients. Using a much larger cohort of HAD cases, we extend this finding and report that p53 protein also increases in non-neuronal cells, including microglia. Taken together these findings demonstrate a novel role for p53 in the microglial response to gp120. Additionally, these findings, in conjunction with a recent report that monocytes expressing HIV-Tat also secrete neurotoxins that promote p53 activation, suggest that distinct HIV proteins may converge on the p53 pathway to promote neurotoxicity.