Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry

, Volume 254, Issue 1–2, pp 289–297 | Cite as

Curcumin inhibits ultraviolet light induced human immunodeficiency virus gene expression

  • Mohiuddin M. Taher
  • Guido Lammering
  • Chad Hershey
  • Kristoffer Valerie


Recently, we reported that the herbal drug St. John's Wort is a potent inhibitor of UV-induced HIV-LTR activation in stably transfected HIVcat/HeLa cells [35]. Our previous studies have demonstrated that the activation of p38 MAP kinase (stress-activated protein kinase-2) and NF-κB are both required for a full UV-induced HIV gene expression response. In this study we have investigated the mechanism by which curcumin inhibits UV-activated HIV-LTR gene expression. We found that treatment of HIVcat/HeLa cells with micromolar concentrations of curcumin completely abolished UV activation of HIV gene expression. Curcumin treatment at similar doses as those used to inhibit HIV gene expression also effectively blocked UV activation of NF-κB, as demonstrated by electrophoretic mobility shift assay. In contrast, curcumin did not inhibit UV-induced phosphorylation of p38 MAP kinase. This observation was also supported by findings that curcumin did not inhibit UV-induced phosphorylation of CREB/ATF-1 and ATF-2. Although curcumin was ineffective in preventing UV-induced p44/42 MAP kinase phosphorylation, the JNK (1 and 2) and AP-1 activation were efficiently blocked by curcumin in HeLa cells. We conclude that the mechanism by which curcumin modulates UV activation of HIV-LTR gene expression mainly involves the inhibition of NF-κB activation.

turmeric powder radiation NF-κB MAP kinases herbal medicine HIV/AIDS 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohiuddin M. Taher
    • 1
  • Guido Lammering
    • 2
  • Chad Hershey
    • 3
  • Kristoffer Valerie
    • 3
  1. 1.Departments of Neurology and Anatomy and NeurobiologyVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA
  2. 2.Department of Radiation OncologyHeinrich-Heine UniversityDuesseldorfGermany
  3. 3.Radiation OncologyVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA

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