Characterization and clinical association of antibody inhibitory to HIV reverse transcriptase activity

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Science  20 Mar 1987:
Vol. 235, Issue 4795, pp. 1501-1504
DOI: 10.1126/science.2435004


Reverse transcriptase activity of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) was blocked in vitro by immunoglobulin G (IgG) derived from certain individuals infected with this retrovirus. A heterogeneous immune response for inhibition of enzyme function was noted. Catalytic activity was depressed by 50% or more with the use of 10 micrograms of IgG from 11 of 16 HIV-seropositive asymptomatic carriers, but from 0 of 8 seronegative controls and 2 of 12 patients with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) or the AIDS-related complex (ARC). The inhibitor was confined to the F(ab')2 fragment. It was not directed against the poly(rA) X oligo(dT) template, nor against major envelope or structural viral antigens, and did not cross-react with bacterial, avian, or other mammalian DNA polymerases. It did not correlate with recognition of polymerase antigens by radioimmunoprecipitation. Loss of this inhibitor may be associated with development of clinical disease. Ten asymptomatic HIV-seropositive carriers with high titers of IgG antibodies to reverse transcriptase were followed for a mean of 3 years. All of four lost inhibitory capability prior to development of AIDS or ARC, while titers persist in the six who remain clinically healthy.