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Antibodies to the CD4-binding site of HIV-1 gp120 suppress gp120-specific CD4 T cell response while enhancing antibody response

Author(s): Visciano Maria | Tuen Michael | Chen Pei-de | Hioe Catarina

Journal: Infectious Agents and Cancer
ISSN 1750-9378

Volume: 3;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 11;
Date: 2008;
Original page

Abstract Background The binding of Abs to the CD4-binding site (CD4bs) of HIV-1 envelope gp120 has been shown to obstruct the processing and generation of helper epitopes from this antigen, resulting in poor presentation of various gp120 epitopes by MHC class II to CD4 T cells. However, the physiologic significance of these inhibitory anti-CD4bs Abs in vivo has remained unclear. In this study, we evaluated the immunologic effects of anti-CD4bs Abs in vivo using a murine model. Results Animals were immunized with recombinant envelope proteins with or without CD4-binding activity (designated CD4bs+ Env and CD4bs– Env, respectively). As expected, anti-CD4bs Abs were generated only after immunization with CD4bs+ Env and not with CD4bs– Env. The presence of anti-CD4bs Abs was associated with lower levels of envelope-specific lymphoproliferation in animals immunized with CD4bs+ Env. To further determine the specific role of the anti-CD4bs Abs, we immunized mice with gp120 in the presence of an inhibitory anti-CD4bs mAb or a non-inhibitory anti-gp120 mAb. The data show that the presence of anti-CD4bs mAb reduced CD4 T cell responses to gp120. However, we also detected significantly higher titers of anti-gp120 Abs following immunization with gp120 and the anti-CD4bs mAb. Conclusion Anti-CD4bs Abs can exert discordant effects on the gp120-specific CD4 T cell and Ab responses in vivo, indicating the importance of these particular Abs in influencing both the cellular and the humoral immune responses against HIV-1.
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