Incomplete downregulation of CD4 expression affects HIV-1 Env conformation and antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity responses.

Academic Article


  • HIV-1-infected cells expressing envelope glycoproteins (Env) in the CD4- bound conformation on their surfaces are targeted by antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) mediated by CD4-induced (CD4i) antibodies and sera from HIV-1-infected individuals (HIV+ sera). By downregulating the surface expression of CD4, Nef prevents Env-CD4 interaction, thus protecting HIV-1-infected cells from ADCC. HIV-1 infectious molecular clones (IMCs) are widely used to measure ADCC. In order to facilitate the identification of infected cells and high-throughput ADCC analysis, reporter genes (e.g., the Renilla luciferase [LucR] gene) are often introduced into IMC constructs. We evaluated the susceptibility of HIV-1-infected CD4+ T lymphocytes to ADCC using a panel of parental IMCs and derivatives that expressed the LucR reporter gene, utilizing different molecular strategies, including one specifically designed to retain Nef expression. We found that in some of these constructs, Nef expression in CD4+ T cells was suboptimal, and consequently, CD4 downregulation was incomplete. CD4 molecules remaining on the cell surface resulted in the exposure of ADCC-mediating CD4i epitopes on Env and a dramatic increase in the susceptibility of the infected cells to ADCC. Strikingly, protection from ADCC was observed when cells were infected with the parental IMC, which exhibited strong CD4 downregulation. This discrepancy between the parental and Nefimpaired viruses was independent of the strains of Env expressed, but rather, it was correlated with the levels of CD4 surface expression. Overall, our results indicate that caution should be taken when selecting IMCs for ADCC measurements and that CD4 downregulation needs to be carefully monitored when drawing conclusions about the nature and magnitude of ADCC. © 2018 Prévost et al.,
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Prévost J; Richard J; Medjahed H; Alexander A; Jones J; Kappes JC; Ochsenbauer C; Finzi A
  • Volume

  • 92
  • Issue

  • 13