Analysis of the interaction of primate retroviruses with the human RNA interference machinery.
The question of whether retroviruses, including human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), interact with the cellular RNA interference machinery has been controversial. Here, we present data showing that neither HIV-1 nor human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) expresses significant levels of either small interfering RNAs or microRNAs in persistently infected T cells. We also demonstrate that the retroviral nuclear transcription factors HIV-1 Tat and HTLV-1 Tax, as well as the Tas transactivator encoded by primate foamy virus, fail to inhibit RNA interference in human cells. Moreover, the stable expression of physiological levels of HIV-1 Tat did not globally inhibit microRNA production or expression in infected human cells. Together, these data argue that HIV-1 and HTLV-1 neither induce the production of viral small interfering RNAs or microRNAs nor repress the cellular RNA interference machinery in infected cells.
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