Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection of T cells and cells of the monocyte/macrophage lineage requires a specific interaction between the CD4 antigen expressed on the cell surface and the HIV-1 external envelope glycoprotein (gp120). To study the association between HIV-1 infection and modulation of cell surface expression of the CD4 molecule in vivo, we examined the CD4+ T cells harboring proviral DNA obtained from HIV-1- infected individuals who had received no antiretroviral therapy for at least 90 days. Simultaneous immunophenotyping of CD4 cell surface expression and PCR-driven in situ hybridization for HIV-1 DNA were used to resolve the CD4+ T cells into distinct populations predicted upon the presence or absence of proviral DNA. Among the HIV-1-infected study subjects, the percentage of CD4+ T cells harboring proviral DNA ranged from 17.3 to 55.5%, with a mean of 40.5%. Cell surface fluorescent staining with anti-CD4 antibody directed against a non-gp120 binding site-related epitope (L120) or a conformation- dependent epitope of the gp120 binding site (Leu 3A) demonstrated either an equivalent or a 1.5- to 3-fold-lower cell surface staining intensity for the HIV-1 DNA-positive subpopulation relative to the HIV-1 DNA-negative subpopulation, respectively. These data suggest that masking or alteration of specific epitopes on the CD4 molecule occurs after vital infection.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science