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Chemokine co-receptor CCR5/CXCR4-dependent modulation of Kv2.1 channel confers acute neuroprotection to HIV-1 glycoprotein gp120 exposure.

Andrew J Shepherd, Lipin Loo, Durga P Mohapatra

PLoS ONE, 2013 , 8, e76698

Infection with human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) within the brain has long been known to be associated with neurodegeneration and neurocognitive disorder (referred as HAND), a condition characterized in its early stages by declining cognitive function and behavioral disturbances. Mechanistically, the HIV-1 coat glycoprotein 120 (gp120) has been suggested to be a critical factor inducing apoptotic cell death in neurons via the activation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), upon chronic exposure to the virus. Here we show that acute exposure of neurons to HIV-1 gp120 elicits a homeostatic response, which provides protection against non-apoptotic cell death, involving the major somatodendritic voltage-gated K⁺ (Kv) channel Kv2.1 as the key mediator. The Kv2.1 channel has recently been shown to provide homeostatic control of neuronal excitability under conditions of seizures, ischemia and neuromodulation/neuroinflammation. Following acute exposure to gp120, cultured rat hippocampal neurons show rapid dephosphorylation of the Kv2.1 protein, which ultimately leads to changes in specific sub-cellular localization and voltage-dependent channel activation properties of Kv2.1. Such modifications in Kv2.1 are dependent on the activation of the chemokine co-receptors CCR5 and CXCR4, and subsequent activation of the protein phosphatase calcineurin. This leads to the overall suppression of neuronal excitability and provides neurons with a homeostatic protective mechanism. Specific blockade of calcineurin and Kv2.1 channel activity led to significant enhancement of non-apoptotic neuronal death upon acute gp120 treatment. These observations shed new light on the intrinsic homeostatic mechanisms of neuronal resilience during the acute stages of neuro-HIV infections.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24086760