Involvement of a leukocyte adhesion receptor (LFA-1) in HIV-induced syncytium formation

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Science  02 Jun 1989:
Vol. 244, Issue 4908, pp. 1075-1078
DOI: 10.1126/science.2543075


Cell fusion (syncytium formation) is a major cytopathic effect of infection by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and may also represent an important mechanism of CD4+ T-cell depletion in individuals infected with HIV. Syncytium formation requires the interaction of CD4 on the surface of uninfected cells with HIV envelope glycoprotein gp120 expressed on HIV-infected cells. However, several observations suggest that molecules other than CD4 play a role in HIV-induced cell fusion. The leukocyte adhesion receptor LFA-1 is involved in a broad range of leukocyte interactions mediated by diverse receptor-ligand systems including CD4-class II major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules. Possible mimicry of class II MHC molecules by gp120 in its interaction with CD4 prompted an examination of the role of LFA-1 in HIV-induced cell fusion. A monoclonal antibody against LFA-1 completely inhibited HIV-induced syncytium formation. The antibody did not block binding of gp120 to CD4. This demonstrates that a molecule other than CD4 is also involved in cell fusion mediated by HIV.

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