Astrocyte apoptosis induced by HIV-1 transactivation of the c-kit protooncogene.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

HIV-1 infection of the central nervous system (CNS) frequently causes dementia and other neurological disorders. The mechanisms of CNS injury in HIV-1 infection are poorly understood. Apoptosis of neurons and astrocytes is induced by HIV-1 infection in vitro and in brain tissue from AIDS patients, but the apoptotic stimuli have not been identified. We report herein that HIV-1 infection of primary brain cultures induces the receptor tyrosine kinase protooncogene c-kit and that high levels of c-Kit expression are associated with astrocyte apoptosis. Overexpression of c-Kit in an astrocyte-derived cell line in the absence of HIV-1 induces rapid apoptotic death. The apoptotic mechanism requires the c-Kit tyrosine kinase domain. The mechanism of c-kit induction by HIV-1 involves transactivation of the c-kit promoter by the HIV-1 Nef protein. These studies demonstrate that c-Kit can induce astrocyte apoptosis and suggest that this mechanism may play a role in CNS injury caused by HIV-1 infection. We propose that c-Kit can serve dual functions as a growth factor receptor or apoptosis inducer.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • He, J; deCastro, CM; Vandenbark, GR; Busciglio, J; Gabuzda, D

Published Date

  • April 15, 1997

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 94 / 8

Start / End Page

  • 3954 - 3959

PubMed ID

  • 9108086

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC20549

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0027-8424

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1073/pnas.94.8.3954


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States