TLR2-modulating lipoproteins of the mycobacterium tuberculosis complex enhance the HIV infectivity of CD4+ T cells

Ciaran Skerry, Lee G. Klinkenberg, Kathleen R. Page, Petros C. Karakousis

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Co-infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis accelerates progression from HIV to AIDS. Our previous studies showed that M. tuberculosis complex, unlike M. smegmatis, enhances TLR2-dependent susceptibility of CD4+ T cells to HIV. The M. tuberculosis complex produces multiple TLR2-stimulating lipoproteins, which are absent in M. smegmatis. M. tuberculosis production of mature lipoproteins and TLR2 stimulation is dependent on cleavage by lipoprotein signal peptidase A (LspA). In order to determine the role of potential TLR2-stimulating lipoproteins on mycobacterial-mediated HIV infectivity of CD4+ T cells, we generated M. smegmatis recombinant strains overexpressing genes encoding various M. bovis BCG lipoproteins, as well as a Mycobacterium bovis BCG strain deficient in LspA (ΔlspA). Exposure of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) to M. smegmatis strains overexpressing the BCG lipoproteins, LprF (p<0.01), LprH (p<0.05), LprI (p<0.05), LprP (p<0.001), LprQ (p<0.005), MPT83 (p<0.005), or PhoS1 (p<0.05), resulted in increased HIV infectivity of CD4+ T cells isolated from these PBMC. Conversely, infection of PBMC with ΔlspA reduced HIV infectivity of CD4+ T cells by 40% relative to BCG-infected cells (p<0.05). These results may have important implications for TB vaccination programs in areas with high mother-to-child HIV transmission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0147192
JournalPloS one
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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