Zhang J, Scadden DT, Crumpacker CS. 2007. Primitive hematopoietic cells resist HIV-1 infection via p21. The Journal of clinical investigation. 117(2):473-81. Pubmed: 17273559


Hematopoietic stem cells are resistant to HIV-1 infection. Here, we report a novel mechanism by which the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor (CKI) p21(Waf1/Cip1/Sdi1) (p21), a known regulator of stem cell pool size, restricts HIV-1 infection of primitive hematopoietic cells. Modifying p21 expression altered HIV-1 infection prior to changes in cell cycling and was selective for p21 since silencing the related CKIs, p27(Kip1) and p18(INK4C), had no effect on HIV-1. We show that p21 blocked viral infection by complexing with HIV-1 integrase and aborting chromosomal integration. A closely related lentivirus with a distinct integrase, SIVmac-251, and the other cell-intrinsic inhibitors of HIV-1, Trim5alpha, PML, Murr1, and IFN-alpha, were unaffected by p21. Therefore, p21 is an endogenous cellular component in stem cells that provides a unique molecular barrier to HIV-1 infection and may explain how these cells remain an uninfected "sanctuary" in HIV disease.

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David Scadden’s laboratory is dedicated to discovering the principles governing blood cell production, with the ultimate goal of guiding the development of therapies for blood disorders and cancer.

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