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Regulation of HIV-1 and IL-2 transcription by inducible CAMP early repressor (ICER)

HIV-1 infection of human monocytes induces production of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) in vitro and in vivo, which has capacity to make the bystander T cells unresponsive (anergic). ICER, a potent transcriptional repressor induced by PGE2 leads to transcriptional attenuation of interleukin-2 (IL-2) and an induction of T cell suppression. We propose that this HIV-1 triggered mechanism may subvert physiologically relevant suppression of IL-2 by regulatory CD4+CD25+ T (Treg) cells. Our preliminary studies suggest that the suppressive mechanism conveyed by Treg cells stems from coexpression of ICER and Foxp3, which inhibits IL-2 expression. Moreover, naïve CD4+CD25- responder T cells retrovirally transduced with Foxp3 can induce the accumulation of ICER and replace natural Treg cells. Importantly, ICER expression is induced in activated responder T cells early and correlates with a sharp decrease of IL-2 expression. Our preliminary studies indicate that ICER inhibits HIV-1 LTR expression and binds the cyclic responsive element (CRE)-like motifs termed DSE positioned downstream of transcription initiation site of HIV-1 LTR. Moreover, in monocytes PGE2 induced transcriptional attenuation of CCR5 expression tightly correlates with upregulation of ICER. We conclude that ICER is a critical component of Treg-mediated inhibitory function that affects transcriptional attenuation of IL-2 production in T cells and that HIV-1 subverts this mechanism via PGE2 and/or Tat-mediated induction of ICER.

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Correspondence to Josef Bodor.

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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Bodor, J. Regulation of HIV-1 and IL-2 transcription by inducible CAMP early repressor (ICER). Retrovirology 3, S81 (2006).

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  • Treg Cell
  • Human Monocyte
  • Transcription Initiation
  • Inhibitory Function
  • Trigger Mechanism