A serological cross-reactivity between env gp120 glycoprotein of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and a human cellular surface protein has been defined by a monoclonal antibody (M38) raised against HIV. The cellular antigen is a protein of ca. 80 kDa expressed on a small fraction of mononuclear cells in peripheral blood and in lymph nodes. The protein behaves as an activation antigen of the monocytic lineage since it is expressed by monocytes in plastic-adherent culture conditions and by interferon-γ-treated monocytes and pro-monocytic U937 cells. The protein is involved in antigen presentation since the antibody efficiently inhibits the proliferation of responsive lymphocytes in autologous tetanus toxoid presentation assays. In the T lymphoblastoid line H9, the protein is present in very small amounts, is not induced by interferon-γ and increases after HIV infection. Sera from lymphoadenopathy syndrome and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) patients fail to detect the cellular protein, although containing antibodies reacting with gp120. We propose that both viral and cellular structures recognized by the monoclonal antibody (mAb) are involved in interactions with CD4 molecules of T helper lymphocytes and that such molecular mimicry might be relevant in the pathology of HIV infection. This view is supported by the finding that BL/10T4, a CD4-specific mAb, binds to M38 neutralizing its interactions with HIV and with monocytes. mAb M38 thus behaves as the internal image of CD4. This single property would explain all its diverse binding characteristics.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||European Journal of Immunology|
|Publication status||Published - 1987|
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