Monocytes, macrophages, and microglia are mononuclear phagocytes important in innate immunity, but also key reservoirs of HIV in the central nervous system. These reservoirs represent a challenge to HIV-1 eradication since they remain producing virus in tissue despite the presence of antiretroviral therapy. Cystatin B expression is positively correlated with HIV replication and decreased levels STAT-1 phosphorylation (STAT-1PY) in monocyte-derived macrophages (MDM). However, the players and the mechanism by which this occurs are unknown. This work is expected to elucidate the mechanism by which cystatin B contributes to HIV-1 replication by regulation of STAT-1PY in macrophage reservoirs. The objective of in this particular application is to define the relationships and signaling pathways between cystatin B, STAT-1PY, interferon (IFN), and HIV persistence in MDM. To attain the objective of this proposal, we will test hypothesis that cystatin B promotes HIV persistence by interacting with the STAT-1PY and additional proteins, including those related to IFN signaling pathway. This hypothesis has been formulated on the basis of preliminary data produced in the applicants'laboratories. The rationale of the proposed research is that understanding the role of cystatin B in HIV replication will permit the modulation of this protein or its interacting proteins and decrease HIV within macrophage reservoirs. Guided by strong preliminary data, this hypothesis will be tested by pursuing two specific aims: 1) Define the cystatin B/STAT-1 signaling pathways and proteins associated to STAT-1 phosphorylation and HIV replication in macrophages;and 2) Identify the role of Cystatin B in the JAK/STAT-1 pathway during HIV infection and IFN-2 activation. Under the first aim we will use In situ Proximity Ligation Assay (PLA) (Olink Biosciences) to confirm, localize and quantify this protein interaction in uninfected and HIV infected MDM and determine if cystatin B interacts directly or indirectly with STAT-1. We will also identify the specific protein pathways associated to cystatin that are subject to modification by phosphorylation using spectral counting based quantification. Under the second aim, we will determine the effect of cystatin B in LTR mediated HIV replication and IFN induced antiviral response using the luciferase assay and correlate our findings with what happens in the MDM. This approach is innovative because, the role of cystatin B as a regulatory protein for in HIV replication has not been demonstrated using proteomics approaches and the interacting partners have not been found. The proposed research is significant because it will reveal novel mechanisms of HIV persistence that could be targeted for new therapeutic approaches directed to eliminate HIV in macrophage reservoirs.

Public Health Relevance

Cystatin B is a protein associated with increased HIV replication in macrophages, the main reservoir for virus in the brain. Finding how this protein affect HIV replication is significant because is the first step in a continuum of research that is expected to lead to development of innovative pharmacologic strategies for eradication of HIV-1 in macrophage reservoirs infiltrating the brain. This discovery could result in the prevention of the pathological and clinical aspects of HIV-1 associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND).)

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Postdoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F32)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-AARR-J (22))
Program Officer
Stoff, David M
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Puerto Rico Med Sciences
Schools of Medicine
San Juan
United States
Zip Code
Rivera, L E; Kraiselburd, E; Meléndez, L M (2016) Cystatin B and HIV regulate the STAT-1 signaling circuit in HIV-infected and INF-?-treated human macrophages. J Neurovirol 22:666-673
Rivera, Linda E; Colon, Krystal; Cantres-Rosario, Yisel M et al. (2014) Macrophage derived cystatin B/cathepsin B in HIV replication and neuropathogenesis. Curr HIV Res 12:111-20