Menin mediates Tat-induced neuronal apoptosis in brain frontal cortex of SIV-infected macaques and in Tat-treated cells.

PMID 28178646


The molecular mechanisms involved in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-associated neurocognitive disorder (HAND) remain poorly understood. It has been recently reported that HIV-1 Tat transactivation requires menin, suggesting that menin may be involved in HAND pathogenesis. But the role of menin is not clear. Here, we found that protein level of menin was increased in simian-human immunodeficiency chimeric virus (SHIV)-SF162.P4 and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) sm543-3-infected rhesus macaques compared with the controls by immunohistochemistry (IHC) and western blot. Menin mainly expressed in the frontal cortex neurons of the brain, more importantly, the number of menin-staining cells was positively correlated with cleaved-caspase-3-positive cells while it was negatively correlated with a neuron-specific nuclear protein NeuN-positive cells, suggesting that expression of menin may induce neuronal apoptosis. Further studies showed that menin level was significantly increased during Tat-induced apoptosis, while downregulation of menin by pll3.7-MEN1-shRNA attenuated the Tat-induced cleavage of caspase-3 and caspase-8 in SY5Y cells and primary neuron cultures. Together, our findings reveal a pro-apoptotic role of menin in the brains of the SIV-infected macaques and the cultured neurons, indicating that targeting menin may be potential to block the HIV-1 Tat induced neuronal damage in HAND.