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The brain-specific factor FEZ1 is a determinant of neuronal susceptibility to HIV-1 infection.Neurons are one of the few cell types in the human body that do not support HIV type-1 (HIV-1) replication. Although the lack of key receptors is a major obstacle to infection, studies suggest that additional functions inhibit virus replication to explain the exquisite resistance of neurons to HIV-1. However, specific neuronal factors that may explain this resistance remain to be discovered. In a screen for antiviral factors using a fibroblast line chemically mutagenized and selected for resistance to retroviral infection, we recently identified induction of rat FEZ1 (fasciculation and elongation protein zeta-1), a brain-specific protein, as the cause of this resistance. When exogenously expressed in nonneuronal cell lines rat FEZ1 blocked nuclear entry of retroviral DNA. Here, we demonstrate that among human brain cells, neurons naturally express high levels of FEZ1 compared to astrocytes or microglia cells and are correspondingly less susceptible to infection with pseudotyped HIV-1 that bypasses receptor-mediated viral entry. Demonstrating that endogenous FEZ1 was functionally important in the resistance of neurons to HIV-1 infection, siRNA-mediated knockdown of endogenous FEZ1 increased the infectivity of neurons while sensitive brain cell types like microglia became more resistant upon FEZ1 overexpression. In addition, FEZ1 expression was not induced in response to IFN treatment. As such, in contrast to other widely expressed, IFN-inducible antiviral factors, FEZ1 appears to represent a unique neuron-specific determinant of cellular susceptibility to infection in a cell type that is naturally resistant to HIV-1.
HSP72 protects cells from ER stress-induced apoptosis via enhancement of IRE1alpha-XBP1 signaling through a physical interaction.Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress is a feature of secretory cells and of many diseases including cancer, neurodegeneration, and diabetes. Adaptation to ER stress depends on the activation of a signal transduction pathway known as the unfolded protein response (UPR). Enhanced expression of Hsp72 has been shown to reduce tissue injury in response to stress stimuli and improve cell survival in experimental models of stroke, sepsis, renal failure, and myocardial ischemia. Hsp72 inhibits several features of the intrinsic apoptotic pathway. However, the molecular mechanisms by which Hsp72 expression inhibits ER stress-induced apoptosis are not clearly understood. Here we show that Hsp72 enhances cell survival under ER stress conditions. The UPR signals through the sensor IRE1alpha, which controls the splicing of the mRNA encoding the transcription factor XBP1. We show that Hsp72 enhances XBP1 mRNA splicing and expression of its target genes, associated with attenuated apoptosis under ER stress conditions. Inhibition of XBP1 mRNA splicing either by dominant negative IRE1alpha or by knocking down XBP1 specifically abrogated the inhibition of ER stress-induced apoptosis by Hsp72. Regulation of the UPR was associated with the formation of a stable protein complex between Hsp72 and the cytosolic domain of IRE1alpha. Finally, Hsp72 enhanced the RNase activity of recombinant IRE1alpha in vitro, suggesting a direct regulation. Our data show that binding of Hsp72 to IRE1alpha enhances IRE1alpha/XBP1 signaling at the ER and inhibits ER stress-induced apoptosis. These results provide a physical connection between cytosolic chaperones and the ER stress response.