CD4 and Major Histocompatibility Complex Class I Downregulation by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Nef Protein in Pediatric AIDS Progression

Nicoletta Casartelli, Gigliola Di Matteo, Marina Potestà, Paolo Rossi, Margherita Doria

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) nef gene is a crucial determinant in AIDS disease progression. Although several in vitro activities have been attributed to the Nef protein, identifying the one critical for in vivo pathogenicity remains elusive. In this study, we examined a large number of nef alleles derived at various time points from 13 perinatally infected children showing different progression rates: six nonprogressors (NPs), three slow progressors (SPs), and four rapid progressors (RPs). The patient-derived nef alleles were analyzed for their steady-state expression of a Nef protein, for their relative ability to downregulate cell surface expression of CD4 and major histocompatibility complex class I (MHC-I) and for their capacity to bind the clathrin adaptor AP-1 complex. We found that NP-derived nef alleles, compared to nef alleles isolated from SPs and RPs, had reduced CD4 and MHC-I downregulation activities. In contrast, SP- and RP-derived nef alleles did not differ and efficiently downregulated both CD4 and MHC-I. AP-1 binding was a conserved function of primary nef alleles not correlated with clinical progression. Defective Nef proteins from NPs, rather than sharing common specific changes in their sequences, accumulated various amino acid substitutions, mainly located outside the conserved domains previously associated with Nef biological properties. Our data indicate that Nef-mediated downregulation of cell surface CD4 and MHC-I significantly contributes to the expression of the pathogenic potential of HIV-1.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11536-11545
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Virology
Volume77
Issue number21
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology

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