Synergism between HIV gp120 and gp120-specific antibody in blocking human T cell activation

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Science  22 Sep 1989:
Vol. 245, Issue 4924, pp. 1380-1382
DOI: 10.1126/science.2571187


The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) binds to CD4-positive cells through interaction of its envelope glycoprotein (gp120) with the CD4 molecule. CD4 is a prominent immunoregulatory molecule, and chronic exposure to antibody against CD4 (anti-CD4) has been shown to cause immunodeficiency in mice. T cell-dependent in vitro immune responses can also be inhibited by anti-CD4. Experimental findings reported here indicate that CD4-bound gp120 attracts gp120-specific antibodies derived from the blood of HIV-seropositive individuals to form a trimolecular complex with itself and CD4. Thus targeted to CD4, the gp120-specific antibody functions as an antibody to CD4; it cross-links and modulates the CD4 molecules and suppresses the activation of T cells as measured by mobilization of intracellular calcium (Ca2i+). The synergism between gp120 and anti-gp120 in blocking T cell activation occurs at low concentrations of both components. Neither gp120 nor anti-gp120 inhibits T cell activation by itself in the concentrations tested.

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