In vivo regulation of HIV-1 long terminal repeat by UV light and various skin applicants in transgenic mice

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Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes



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UV irradiation has been shown to activate the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) long terminal repeat (LTR) in cell culture; however, only limited studies have been described in vivo. UV light has been categorized as UV-A (400 to 315 nm), -B (315 to 280 nm), or -C (less than 280 nm); the longer wavelengths are less harmful but more penetrative. Highly penetrative UV-A radiation constitutes the vast majority of UV sunlight reaching the earth's surface but is normally harmless. UV-B irradiation is more harmful but less prevalent than UV-A. In this report, the HIV-1 LTR-luciferase gene in the skin of transgenic mice was markedly activated when exposed to UV-B irradiation. The LTR in the skin of transgenic mice pretreated topically with a photosensitizing agent (psoralen) was also activated to similar levels when exposed to UV-A light. A 2-h exposure to sunlight activated the LTR in skin treated with psoralen, whereas the LTR in skin not treated with psoralen was activated after 7 h of sunlight exposure. The HIV-1 LTR-beta-galactosidase reporter gene was preferentially activated by UV-B irradiation in a small population of epidermal cells. The transgenic mouse models carrying HIV-1 LTR-luciferase and LTR-beta-galactosidase reporter genes have been used to demonstrate the in vivo UV-induced activation of the LTR and might be used to evaluate other environmental factors or pharmacologic substances that might potentially activate the HIV-1 LTR in vivo.

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