Antiretroviral therapy extends survival but does not eliminate HIV from its cellular reservoirs. Between immune and stromal cells in the tissue microenvironment, a dynamic intercellular communication might influence host viral immune responses via intercellular transfer of extracellular vehicles (EVs) (microvesicles, exosome, or apoptotic bodies). It is increasingly recognized that HIV-infected macrophage-secreted nucleotide-rich exosomes might play a critical role in mediating communication between macrophages and other structural cells; however, molecular mechanisms underlying cell–cell crosstalk remain unknown. Here we show that HIV-1-infected macrophages and HIV-1 proteins Tat or gp120-treated macrophages express high levels of microRNAs, including miR-23a and miR-27a. Identical miRNAs expression patterns were detected in macrophage-secreted exosomes isolated from bronchoalveolar lavage fluid of HIV transgenic rats. Tat-treated macrophage-derived exosomal miR-23a attenuated posttranscriptional modulation of key tight junction protein zonula occludens (ZO-1) 3′-UTR in epithelial cells. In parallel, exosomal miR-27a released from Tat-treated macrophages altered the mitochondrial bioenergetics of recipient lung epithelial cells by targeting peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ), while simultaneously stimulating glycolysis. Together, exosomal miRNAs shuttle from macrophages to epithelial cells and thereby explain in part HIV-mediated lung epithelial barrier dysfunction. These studies suggest that targeting miRNAs may be of therapeutic value to enhance lung health in HIV.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Cell Biology
- Cancer Research