Cognitive deficits are a significant clinical problem associated with HIV infection (HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders or HAND). We have recently showed that decreasing the function of CCR5, a receptor that mediates HIV cellular entry, increases MAPK and CREB signaling, enhances long-term potentiation (LTP), and strengthens hippocampus-dependent memory (e.g., spatial and contextual learning), while manipulations that increase CCR5 function have the opposite effect.

These results demonstrate that CCR5 is a suppressor for synaptic plasticity and memory, and suggest the hypothesis that CCR5 over-activation by HIV viral proteins contribute to HAND. Consistent with this hypothesis, our laboratory found that the neuronal and cognitive deficits caused by an HIV coat peptide, known to bind and activate CCR5 (HIV Gp120 V3 loop peptide or HIV-V3 peptide) could be prevented by manipulations that decreased CCR5 function. Overall, our results demonstrate that CCR5 plays an important role in neuroplasticity and learning & memory, and indicate that over-activation of this receptor could contribute to HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders

Key Publications:

Miou Zhou Stuart Greenhill Shan Huang Tawnie K Silva Yoshitake Sano Shumin Wu Ying Cai Yoshiko Nagaoka Megha Sehgal Denise J Cai Yong-Seok Lee Kevin Fox Alcino J Silva. CCR5 is a suppressor for cortical plasticity and hippocampal learning and memory. DOI:; Published December 20, 2016; Cite as eLife 2016;10.7554/eLife.209851. (PDF)