The principal neutralizing domain (PND) of Human Immunodeficiency Virus type 1 (HIV-1) is mapped to a 24-amino acid sequence located in the hypervariable V3 region of the viral envelope protein. The PND of HIV-1 isolates from infected individuals corresponds mostly to that of the HIV-1 MN strain. We found that a peptide designed from the PND of HIV-1 MN virus greatly enhanced viral infection, while a peptide-derived PND of HTLV-IIIB virus showed at least 10-fold less efficient activity; no such effect was exhibited by the other peptides tested, including one designed from the PND of HIV-1 RF strain. The observed enhancing effect occurred in the early steps of viral infection and was not strain-restricted as both MN- and IIIB-derived peptides increased heterologous virus expression, including that of the RF strain. The MN- and, to a lesser extent, IIIB-derived peptides also increased CD4 expression on the cell membrane and differentially inhibited CD4 down-regulation induced by the phorbol ester TPA and/or by the monosialoganglioside GM1; the peptides showing no viral infection enhancement had no such effects. These findings demonstrate that the viral enhancement observed took place through a CD4-dependent mechanism and suggest that the PND is involved in HIV-1 infection and spread.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases