Dysregulation of macrophage-secreted cathepsin B contributes to HIV-1-linked neuronal apoptosis

Eillen J. Rodriguez-Franco, Yisel M. Cantres-Rosario, Marines Plaud-Valentin, Rafael Romeu, Yolanda Rodríguez, Richard Skolasky, Viviana Meléndez, Carmen L. Cadilla, Loyda M. Melendez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Chronic HIV infection leads to the development of cognitive impairments, designated as HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND). The secretion of soluble neurotoxic factors by HIV-infected macrophages plays a central role in the neuronal dysfunction and cell death associated with HAND. One potentially neurotoxic protein secreted by HIV-1 infected macrophages is cathepsin B. To explore the potential role of cathepsin B in neuronal cell death after HIV infection, we cultured HIV-1ADA infected human monocyte-derived macrophages (MDM) and assayed them for expression and activity of cathepsin B and its inhibitors, cystatins B and C. The neurotoxic activity of the secreted cathepsin B was determined by incubating cells from the neuronal cell line SK-N-SH with MDM conditioned media (MCM) from HIV-1 infected cultures. We found that HIV-1 infected MDM secreted significantly higher levels of cathepsin B than did uninfected cells. Moreover, the activity of secreted cathepsin B was significantly increased in HIV-infected MDM at the peak of viral production. Incubation of neuronal cells with supernatants from HIV-infected MDM resulted in a significant increase in the numbers of apoptotic neurons, and this increase was reversed by the addition of either the cathepsin B inhibitor CA-074 or a monoclonal antibody to cathepsin B. In situ proximity ligation assays indicated that the increased neurotoxic activity of the cathepsin B secreted by HIV-infected MDM resulted from decreased interactions between the enzyme and its inhibitors, cystatins B and C. Furthermore, preliminary in vivo studies of human post-mortem brain tissue suggested an upregulation of cathepsin B immunoreactivity in the hippocampus and basal ganglia in individuals with HAND. Our results demonstrate that HIV-1 infection upregulates cathepsin B in macrophages, increases cathepsin B activity, and reduces cystatin-cathepsin interactions, contributing to neuronal apoptosis. These findings provide new evidence for the role of cathepsin B in neuronal cell death induced by HIV-infected macrophages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere36571
JournalPloS one
Volume7
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 31 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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