Although human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) infects quiescent and proliferating CD4+ lymphocytes, the virus replicates poorly in resting T cells. Factors that block viral replication in these cells might help to prolong the asymptomatic phase of HIV infection; however, the molecular mechanisms that control this process are not fully understood. Here we show that Murr1, a gene product known previously for its involvement in copper regulation, inhibits HIV-1 growth in unstimulated CD4+ T cells. This inhibition was mediated in part through its ability to inhibit basal and cytokine-stimulated nuclear factor (NF)-kappaB activity. Knockdown of Murr1 increased NF-kappaB activity and decreased IkappaB-alpha concentrations by facilitating phospho-IkappaB-alpha degradation by the proteasome. Murr1 was detected in CD4+ T cells, and RNA-mediated interference of Murr1 in primary resting CD4+ lymphocytes increased HIV-1 replication. Through its effects on the proteasome, Murr1 acts as a genetic restriction factor that inhibits HIV-1 replication in lymphocytes, which could contribute to the regulation of asymptomatic HIV infection and the progression of AIDS.
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