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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Hili inhibits HIV replication in activated T cells

  • Author(s): Peterlin, BM
  • Liu, P
  • Wang, X
  • Cary, D
  • Shao, W
  • Leoz, M
  • Hong, T
  • Pan, T
  • Fujinaga, K
  • et al.

© 2017 American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved. P-element-induced wimpy-like (Piwil) proteins restrict the replication of mobile genetic elements in the germ line. They are also expressed in many transformed cell lines. In this study, we discovered that the human Piwil 2 (Hili) protein can also inhibit HIV replication, especially in activated CD4+T cells that are the preferred target cells for this virus in the infected host. Although resting cells did not express Hili, its expression was rapidly induced following T cell activation. In these cells and transformed cell lines, depletion of Hili increased levels of viral proteins and new viral particles. Further studies revealed that Hili binds to tRNA. Some of the tRNAs represent rare tRNA species, whose codons are overrepresented in the viral genome. Targeting tRNAArg(UCU) with an antisense oligonucleotide replicated effects of Hili and also inhibited HIV replication. Finally, Hili also inhibited the retrotransposition of the endogenous intracysternal A particle (IAP) by a similar mechanism. Thus, Hili joins a list of host proteins that inhibit the replication of HIV and other mobile genetic elements.

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