Analysis of the basis of resistance and susceptibility of CD4+ T cells to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-gp120 induced anergy

A. Faith, R. E. O'Hehir, M. Malkovsky, J. R. Lamb

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The resistance and susceptibility of T cells to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-gp120 induced anergy was examined. Antigen-dependent proliferation of polyclonal T cells was markedly inhibited by gp120, whereas from the analysis of monoclonal populations, T cells resistant to the effects of gp120 could be identified. Similarly, exposure of monoclonal T cells to gp120 in the absence of accessory cells, also demonstrated that some T cells could resist the induction of anergy. Loss of antigen recognition was associated with phenotypic modulation of CD3 and CD28, which was not observed in T cells resistant to functional inactivation by gp120. Modulation of CD4 was not related to induction of anergy in the monoclonal T cells examined in this study. Inhibition of T-cell responses by anti-CD4 antibodies was compared to that by gp120. Anti-CD4 antibodies, which cross-compete with gp120 for binding to CD4, inhibited the response to antigen of monoclonal T cells. In contrast, no tolerogenic signals were delivered by pretreating T cells with the anti-CD4 antibodies in the absence of accessory cells, indicating that inhibition was due to abrogation of the interaction of CD4 with major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II molecules expressed on accessory cells. Although the free CD4-binding region peptide of gp120 could inhibit polyclonal T-cell responses, only the carrier-bound peptide was able to modulate cloned T cells, suggesting a conformational requirement for functional inactivation through engagement of CD4. The results reported here using clonal CD4+ T-cell populations demonstrate that effects of gp120 on antigen-dependent proliferation are not uniform, and that therapeutic intervention might be directed at T-cell populations identified as susceptible to HIV-gp120 induced anergy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-184
Number of pages8
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1992
Externally publishedYes

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