The expression of the chemokine receptor CCR5 in tick-borne encephalitis
HIV-1 transmission and disease progression is, in general, characterized by initial predominance of macrophage tropic, non-syncytium-inducing strains followed by a switch to T-cell tropic, syncytium-inducing strains. Using sensitive, quantitative kinetic RT-PCR, we examined cytokine regulation of tropism-specific HIV-1 coreceptor expression in PBMCs from HIV-1-seronegative individuals. Proinflammatory (TNF-alpha and IL-12) and type 1 cytokines (IFN-gamma and IL-2) significantly upregulated CCR5 (wt allele) mRNA expression in CCR5 homozygous wild-type (wt/wt) and heterozygous individuals (wt/del) (P < 0.02). CCR5 (wt) mRNA expression in unstimulated PBMCs was significantly increased in wt/wt individuals compared to that of wt/del individuals (P < 0.01). In wt/del individuals, del CCR5 mRNA was expressed at 10-fold greater levels than wt CCR5 mRNA in unstimulated PBMCs from the same individual. Flow cytometry confirmed that upregulated CCR5 mRNA following type 1 cytokine stimulation leads to increased cell surface expression of CCR5 protein. The type 2 cytokine IL-10 downregulated both CCR5 mRNA and protein expression in wt/wt and wt/del individuals. Proinflammatory, type 1, and type 2 cytokines significantly increased CXCR4 mRNA expression in wt/wt, wt/del, and del/del CCR5 genotypes (P < 0.02). These results suggest that changes in the cytokine milieu influence chemokine receptor expression and may explain emergence of tropism-specific strains facilitating HIV transmission and disease progression.