Blocking of HIV-1 infectivity by a soluble, secreted form of the CD4 antigen

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Science  18 Dec 1987:
Vol. 238, Issue 4834, pp. 1704-1707
DOI: 10.1126/science.3500514


The initial event in the infection of human T lymphocytes, macrophages, and other cells by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) is the attachment of the HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein gp120 to its cellular receptor, CD4. As a step toward designing antagonists of this binding event, soluble, secreted forms of CD4 were produced by transfection of mammalian cells with vectors encoding versions of CD4 lacking its transmembrane and cytoplasmic domains. The soluble CD4 so produced binds gp120 with an affinity and specificity comparable to intact CD4 and is capable of neutralizing the infectivity of HIV-1. These studies reveal that the high-affinity CD4-gp120 interaction does not require other cell or viral components and may establish a novel basis for therapeutic intervention in the acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).