Immunoglobulin VH3 gene products: natural ligands for HIV gp120

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Science  17 Sep 1993:
Vol. 261, Issue 5128, pp. 1588-1591
DOI: 10.1126/science.7690497


Infection with human immunodeficiency virus-type 1 (HIV-1) depletes T cells expressing CD4 and B cells expressing immunoglobulin (Ig) VH3 gene products. A subpopulation of normal B cells from non-HIV-infected individuals was shown to bind to HIV gp120 by means of membrane Ig; most of these B cells expressed VH3 family Ig. Serum VH3 IgM from uninfected individuals also avidly bound gp120. Finally, gp120 selectively induced Ig secretion by VH3 B cells, indicating that the binding of gp120 functionally activated these cells. These results indicate that naturally occurring VH3 Ig is a second ligand for gp120 and a candidate superantigen for VH3 B cells.