Indexed on: 15 Nov '94Published on: 15 Nov '94Published in: Virology
We have studied the mechanism of IFN induction by HIV-1 in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC), using recombinant viral membrane glycoproteins as potential inducers. Whereas 8 nM HIVIIIB-derived gp120 resulted in IFN levels between 80 and 2000 IU/ml with PBMC from different donors, gp120 from the MN strain was not an inducer. Preincubation of HIVIIIB-gp120 with a monoclonal antibody (mAB) to its CD4 binding domain or of PBMC with a mAB to the gp120 binding domain of CD4 abolished IFN induction. Antibodies against the third extracellular domain of CD4 which did not block binding of gp120, however, were also inhibitory. Furthermore, several mABs to the third variable loop (V3) of HIVIIIB-gp120 also blocked IFN induction, suggesting an important role of V3 in this process. This was further supported by the inhibitory action of peptides homologous to complete or partial sequences of V3. We conclude that after binding of gp120 to its CD4 receptor the V3 loop can be positioned close to the membrane of the responder cells by bending of gp120-occupied CD4 at its hinge region between extracellular domains 2 and 3. As a result V3 is able to interact with a V3-specific "secondary receptor" on the membranes of these cells. We suggest that it is the latter interaction which triggers IFN induction.