Bangdong L Wei

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX, United States

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Publications (8)54.17 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Worldwide, vaginal transmission now accounts for more than half of newly acquired HIV-1 infections. Despite the urgency to develop and implement novel approaches capable of preventing HIV transmission, this process has been hindered by the lack of adequate small animal models for preclinical efficacy and safety testing. Given the importance of this route of transmission, we investigated the susceptibility of humanized mice to intravaginal HIV-1 infection. We show that the female reproductive tract of humanized bone marrow-liver-thymus (BLT) mice is reconstituted with human CD4+ T and other relevant human cells, rendering these humanized mice susceptible to intravaginal infection by HIV-1. Effects of HIV-1 infection include CD4+ T cell depletion in gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT) that closely mimics what is observed in HIV-1-infected humans. We also show that pre-exposure prophylaxis with antiretroviral drugs is a highly effective method for preventing vaginal HIV-1 transmission. Whereas 88% (7/8) of BLT mice inoculated vaginally with HIV-1 became infected, none of the animals (0/5) given pre-exposure prophylaxis of emtricitabine (FTC)/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) showed evidence of infection (Chi square = 7.5, df = 1, p = 0.006). The fact that humanized BLT mice are susceptible to intravaginal infection makes this system an excellent candidate for preclinical evaluation of both microbicides and pre-exposure prophylactic regimens. The utility of humanized mice to study intravaginal HIV-1 transmission is particularly highlighted by the demonstration that pre-exposure prophylaxis can prevent intravaginal HIV-1 transmission in the BLT mouse model.
    PLoS Medicine 02/2008; 5(1):e16. · 15.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Intrarectal infection between men who have sex with men represents a predominant form of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) transmission in developed countries. Currently there are no adequate small animal models that recapitulate intrarectal HIV transmission. Here we demonstrate that human lymphocytes generated in situ from hematopoietic stem cells reconstitute the gastrointestinal tract of humanized mice with human CD4(+) T cells rendering them susceptible to intrarectal HIV transmission. HIV infection after a single intrarectal inoculation results in systemic infection with depletion of CD4(+) T cells in gut-associated lymphoid tissue and other pathologic sequela that closely mimics those observed in HIV infected humans. This novel model provides the basis for the development and evaluation of novel approaches aimed at immune reconstitution of human gut-associated lymphoid tissue and for the development, testing, and implementation of microbicides to prevent intrarectal HIV-1 transmission.
    Journal of Experimental Medicine 05/2007; 204(4):705-14. · 13.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: HIV-1 compartmentalization in the CNS has been demonstrated for gag, pol, and env genes. However, little is known about tissue compartmentalization of nef genes and their functional characteristics in brain. We have cloned 97 nef genes and characterized 10 Nef proteins from autopsy brain and lymphoid tissues from 2 patients with AIDS and HIV-1-associated dementia. Distinct compartmentalization of brain versus lymphoid nef genes was demonstrated within each patient. CD4 and MHC-I downregulation were conserved in all tissue-derived Nefs. However, MHC-I downregulation by brain-derived Nefs was weaker than downregulation by lymphoid-derived Nefs. The motifs KEEE- or EKEE- at the PACS-1 binding site represented brain-specific signature patterns in these 2 patients and contributed to the reduced MHC-I downregulation activity of brain-derived Nefs from these patients. Pak2 association was highly variable in Nefs from both patients. Three of 10 tissue-derived Nefs coimmunoprecipitated activated Pak2, with strong association demonstrated for only 2 Nefs. The ability of Nef to associate with activated Pak2 did not correlate with brain or lymphoid tissue origin. Nef genes from viruses isolated from brain by coculture with PBMC were not closely related to sequences amplified directly from brain tissue, suggesting that viral selection or adaptation occurred during coculture. This study of tissue-derived HIV-1 Nefs demonstrates that CD4 and MHC-I downregulation are highly conserved Nef functions, while Pak2 association is variable in late stage AIDS patients.
    Virology 03/2007; 358(1):119-35. · 3.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The interaction of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) Nef with p21-activated kinase 2 (Pak2) has been proposed to play an important role in T-cell activation and disease progression during viral infection. However, the mechanism by which Nef activates Pak2 is poorly understood. Mutations in most Nef motifs previously reported to be required for Pak2 activation (G2, PxxP72, and RR105) also affect other Nef functions, such as CD4 or major histocompatibility complex class I (MHC-I) downregulation. To better understand Nef interactions with Pak2, we performed mutational analysis of three primary HIV-1 Nef clones that exhibited similar capacities for downregulation of CD4 and MHC-I but variable abilities to associate with activated Pak2. Our results demonstrate that Nef amino acids at positions 85, 89, 187, 188, and 191 (L, H, S, R, and F in the clade B consensus, respectively) are critical for Pak2 association. Mutation of these Nef residues dramatically altered association with Pak2 without affecting Nef expression levels or CD4 and MHC-I downregulation. Furthermore, compensation occurred at positions 89 and 191 when both amino acids were substituted. Since residues 85, 89, 187, 188, and 191 cluster on the surface of the Nef core domain in a region distinct from the dimerization and SH3-binding domains, we propose that these Nef residues form part of a unique binding surface specifically involved in association with Pak2. This binding surface includes exposed and recessed hydrophobic residues and may participate in an as-yet-unidentified protein-protein interaction to facilitate Pak2 activation.
    Journal of Virology 04/2006; 80(6):3050-61. · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The accessory human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) protein Nef activates the autophosphorylation activity of p21-activated kinase 2 (PAK2). Merlin, a cellular substrate of PAK2, is homologous to the ezrin-radixin-moesin family and plays a critical role in Rac signaling. To assess the possible impact on host cell metabolism of Nef-induced PAK2 activation, we investigated the phosphorylation of merlin in Nef expressing cells. Here we report that Nef induces merlin phosphorylation in multiple cell lines independently of protein kinase A. This intracellular phosphorylation of merlin directly correlates with in vitro assay of the autophosphorylation activity of Nef-activated PAK2. Importantly, merlin phosphorylation induced by Nef was also observed in human primary T cells. The finding that Nef induces phosphorylation of the key signaling molecule merlin suggests several possible roles for PAK2 activation in HIV pathogenesis.
    Journal of Virology 01/2006; 79(23):14976-80. · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We previously reported that inhibition of endosomal/lysosomal function can dramatically enhance human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infectivity, suggesting that under these conditions productive HIV-1 infection can occur via the endocytic pathway. Here we further examined this effect with bafilomycin A1 (BFLA-1) and show that this enhancement of infectivity extends to all HIV-1 isolates tested regardless of coreceptor usage. However, isolate-specific differences were observed in the magnitude of the effect. This was particularly evident in the case of the weakly infectious HIV-1(SF2), for which we observed the greatest enhancement. Using reciprocal chimeric viruses, we were able to determine that both the disproportionate increase in the infectivity of HIV-1(SF2) in response to BFLA-1 and its weak infectivity in the absence of BFLA-1 mapped to its envelope gene. Further, we found HIV-1(SF2) to have lower fusion activity and to be 12-fold more sensitive to the fusion inhibitor T-20 than HIV-1(NL4-3). Proteasomal inhibitors also enhance HIV-1 infectivity, and we report that the combination of a lysosomal and a proteasomal inhibitor greatly enhanced infectivity of all isolates tested. Again, HIV-1(SF2) was unique in exhibiting a synergistic 400-fold increase in infectivity. We also determined that inhibition of proteasomal function increased the infectivity of HIV-1 pseudotyped with vesicular stomatitis virus G protein. The evidence presented here highlights the important role of the lysosomes/proteasomes in the destruction of infectious HIV-1(SF2) and could have implications for the development of novel antiviral agents that might take advantage of these innate defenses.
    Journal of Virology 06/2005; 79(9):5705-12. · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The nef gene is present in all primate lentiviruses (HIV-1, HIV-2, and SIVs). In vivo, Nef has been shown to be a major determinant of virus pathogenicity. In vitro, many different Nef activities have been reported, including CD4 and MHC I downregulation, enhanced virion infectivity, and T-cell activation. These four different activities have been extensively investigated and appear to increase the pathogenicity of the virus. However, the contribution that these activities (individually or together) make to the in vivo phenotype has not been elucidated. The mechanism(s) by which Nef modulates distinct host cell properties has provided great insights into the intricate interaction between virus and host. In this manuscript, we review the different model systems that have been used to study Nef function in vivo and the information that they have provided regarding the best characterized in vitro Nef activities. The knowledge that has been accumulated has provided clues to our understanding of Nef function but they have also left us with many unanswered questions that should be the focus of future in vivo analysis of Nef function.
    Current HIV Research 02/2003; 1(1):41-50. · 2.03 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Productive entry of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) into a host cell is believed to proceed via fusion of the viral envelope with the host cell's plasma membrane. Interestingly, the majority of HIV-1 particles that bind to the cell surface are taken up by the host cell via endocytosis; however, this mode of internalization generally does not result in infection. Presumably, virus particles remain trapped in the endocytic pathway and are eventually degraded. Here, we demonstrate that treatment of cells with various pharmacological agents known to elevate the pH of endosomes and lysosomes allows HIV-1 to efficiently enter and infect the host cell. Pretreatment of cells with bafilomycin A1 results in up to a 50-fold increase in the infectivity of HIV-1(SF2). Similarly, pretreatment of target cells with amantadine, concanamycin A, concanamycin B, chloroquine, and ammonium chloride resulted in increases in HIV-1 infectivity ranging between 2- and 15-fold. Analysis of receptor and coreceptor expression, HIV-long terminal repeat (LTR) transactivation, and transduction with amphotropic-pseudotyped murine leukemia virus (MLV)-based vectors suggests that the increase in infectivity is not artifactual. The increased infectivity under these conditions appears to be due to the ability of HIV-1 and MLV particles to enter via the endocytic pathway when spared from degradation in the late endosomes and lysosomes. These results could have significant implications for the administration of current and future lysosmotropic agents to patients with HIV disease.
    Journal of Virology 12/2002; 76(22):11440-6. · 5.08 Impact Factor