HIV-1 gp120 induces anergy in naive T lymphocytes through CD4-independent protein kinase-A-mediated signaling

Anna Maria Masci, Mario Galgani, Silvana Cassano, Salvatore De Simone, Adriana Gallo, Veronica De Rosa, Serafino Zappacosta, Luigi Racioppi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The ability of the envelope glycoprotein gp120 [human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) env] to induce intracellular signals is thought to contribute to HIV-1 pathogenesis. In the present study, we found that the exposure of CD4+ CD45RA+ naive T cells to HIVenv results in a long-lasting hyporesponsiveness to antigen stimulation. This phenomenon is not dependent on CD4-mediated signals and also can be generated by the exposure of naive T cell to soluble CD4-HIVenv complexes. The analysis of the proximal signaling reveals that HIVenv does not activate Lck as well as the mitogen-activated protein kinase intermediate cascade. Conversely, the envelope glycoprotein stimulates the cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP)-dependent protein kinase A (PKA) activity and induces the progressive accumulation of the phosphorylated form of the cAMP-responsive element binding. Of note, the ligation of CXCR4 by stromal cell-derived factor-1α but not the engagement of CD4 by monoclonal antibody stimulates the PKA activity and induces a long-lasting hyporesponsivity state in naive CD4+ lymphocytes. The pretreatment of lymphocytes with H89, a cell-permeable PKA inhibitor, prevents the induction of anergy. These findings reveal a novel mechanism by which HIVenv may modulate the processes of clonal expansion, homeostatic proliferation, and terminal differentiation of the naive T lymphocyte subset.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1117-1124
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Leukocyte Biology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2003


  • cAMP
  • CREB
  • CXCR4
  • HIVenv

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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