Activation of transcription factor Nrf-2 and its downstream targets in response to Moloney murine leukemia virus ts1-induced thiol depletion and oxidative stress in astrocytes

Wenan Qiang, Jodi M. Cahill, Jinrong Liu, Xianghong Kuang, Na Liu, Virginia L. Scofield, Jennifer R. Voorhees, Amy J. Reid, Mingshan Yan, William S. Lynn, Paul K Y Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations

Abstract

The neuroimmunodegenerative syndrome that develops in mice infected with ts1, a mutant of Moloney murine leukemia virus, resembles human AIDS. Both ts1 and human immunodeficiency virus type 1 infect astrocytes, microglia, and oligodendrocytes but do not infect neurons. Oxidative stress has been implicated in the neuropathology of AIDS dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases. We report here that ts1 infection of astrocytes (both transformed C1 cells and primary cultures) also induces thiol (i.e., glutathione and cysteine) depletion and reactive oxygen species (ROS) accumulation, events occurring in parallel with viral envelope precursor gPr80env accumulation and upregulated expression of endoplasmic reticulum chaperones GRP78 and GRP94. Furthermore, ts1-infected astrocytes mobilize their thiol redox defenses by upregulating levels of the Nrf-2 transcription factor, as well its targets, the xCT cystine/glutamate antiporter, γ-glutamylcysteine ligase, and glutathione peroxidase. Depleting intracellular thiols by treating uninfected astrocytes with buthionine sulfoximine (BSO), a glutathione synthesis inhibitor, or by culturing in cystine-deficient medium, also induces ROS accumulation, activates Nrf-2, and upregulates Nrf-2 target gene expression in these astrocytes. Overexpression of Nrf-2 in astrocytes specifically increases expression of the above thiol synthesis-related proteins. Further treatment with BSO or N-acetylcysteine in transfected cells modulates this expression. Thiol depletion also accelerates cell death, while thiol supplementation promotes survival of ts1-infected cells. Together, our results indicate that ts1 infection of astrocytes, along with ts1-induced gPr80env accumulation, endoplasmic reticulum stress, thiol depletion, and oxidative stress, accelerates cell death; in response to the thiol depletion and oxidative stress, astrocytes activate their Nrf-2-mediated thiol antioxidant defenses, promoting cell survival.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11926-11938
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of virology
Volume78
Issue number21
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology

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