Evidence for cFMS signaling in HIV production by brain macrophages and microglia


Lindsey Gerngross, Tracy Fischer


Combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) has improved the longevity and quality of life for people living with HIV; however, it does not target virus that persists in long-lived cells, such as macrophages (MΦs). This allows for the development of viral reservoirs in various anatomical compartments where these cells reside, including the central nervous system (CNS), where perivascular MΦs and resident microglia constitute the principle cellular reservoir of HIV. How HIV persists in MΦs/microglia is not completely understood; however, prosurvival signaling that protects infected MΦs/microglia from apoptosis is likely important to viral persistence. Macrophage colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF) is an important factor in MΦ survival and has been implicated in HIV neuropathogenesis through its ability to enhance the susceptibility of MΦs to infection and promote virus production. While M-CSF has been detected in cerebrospinal fluid of HIV-infected patients, the cellular source of M-CSF in the CNS is unknown. Here, we demonstrate, for the first time, that MΦs comprising perivascular cuffs and nodular lesions in SIV encephalitis (SIVE) brain are the principle source of M-CSF. These cells also serve as the primary reservoir of productive SIV infection in the brain. We further demonstrate that M-CSF and IL-34, which signal through the same receptor, cFMS, enhance HIV-1 production by microglia in vitro. This is attenuated by the addition of a receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor with high specificity for cFMS, GW2580. Together, these data suggest that cFMS signaling may be an attractive target for eliminating long-lived MΦ reservoirs of HIV in the brain and other tissues.