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HIV-associated neurocognitive impairments (HANI) are a spectrum of neurological disorders due to the effects of HIV-1 on the central nervous system (CNS). The HIV-1 subtypes; HIV-1 subtype B (HIV-1B) and HIV-1 subtype C (HIV-1C) are responsible for the highest prevalence of HANI and HIV infections respectively. The HIV transactivator of transcription (Tat) protein is a major contributor to the neuropathogenesis of HIV. The effects of the Tat protein on cells of the CNS is determined by the subtype-associated amino acid sequence variations. The extent to which the sequence variation between Tat-subtypes contribute to underlying mechanisms and neurological outcomes are not clear. In this review of the literature, we discuss how amino acid variations between HIV-1B Tat (TatB) and HIV-1C Tat (TatC) proteins contribute to the potential underlying neurobiological mechanisms of HANI. Tat-C is considered to be a more effective transactivator, whereas Tat-B may exert increased neurovirulence, including neuronal apoptosis, monocyte infiltration into the brain, (neuro)inflammation, oxidative stress and blood-brain barrier damage. These findings support the premise that Tat variants from different HIV-1 subtypes may direct neurovirulence and neurological outcomes in HANI. Copyright © 2019 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Monray E Williams, Simo S Zulu, Dan J Stein, John A Joska, Petrus J W Naudé. Signatures of HIV-1 subtype B and C Tat proteins and their effects in the neuropathogenesis of HIV-associated neurocognitive impairments. Neurobiology of disease. 2020 Mar;136:104701

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PMID: 31837421

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