The proinflammatory cytokine IL-32 is elevated in the plasma and tissues of HIV-1–infected individuals. However, its significance in HIV-1 infection remains unclear because IL-32 inhibits and stimulates viral production in monocyte-derived macrophages (MDMs) and CD4+ T cells, respectively. In this study, we initially found that the inhibitory effect on human MDMs depends on SAMHD1, a dNTP triphosphohydrolase that inhibits viral reverse transcription. IL-32 increased the unphosphorylated active form of SAMHD1, which was consistent with the reduced expression of the upstream cyclin-dependent kinases. Indeed, IL-32 lost its anti–HIV-1 activity in MDMs when SAMHD1 was depleted. These results explain why IL-32 inhibits HIV-1 in MDMs but not CD4+ T cells, because SAMHD1 restricts HIV-1 in noncycling MDMs but not in cycling CD4+ T cells. Another unique feature of IL-32 is the induction of the immunosuppressive molecule IDO1, which is beneficial for HIV-1 infection. In this study, we found that IL-32 also upregulates other immunosuppressive molecules, including PD-L1, in MDMs. Moreover, IL-32 promoted the motility of MDMs, which potentially facilitates intercellular HIV-1 transmission. Our findings indicate that IL-32 has both the direct inhibitory effect on HIV-1 production in MDMs and the indirect stimulatory effects through phenotypic modulation of MDMs, and they suggest that the stimulatory effects may outweigh the inhibitory effect because the window for IL-32 to inhibit HIV-1 is relatively confined to SAMHD1-mediated reverse transcription suppression in the viral life cycle.

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