Indexed on: 31 Jan '09Published on: 31 Jan '09Published in: Virology
Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection is initiated by successive interactions of viral envelope glycoprotein gp120 with two cellular surface proteins, CD4 and chemokine receptor. The two most common chemokine receptors that allow HIV-1 entry are the CCR5 and CXCR4. The CD4 and CCR5 are mainly localized to the particular plasma membrane microdomains, termed raft, which is rich in glycolipids and cholesterol. However, the CXCR4 is localized only partially to the raft region. Although the raft domain is suggested to participate in HIV-1 infection, its role in entry of CXCR4-tropic (X4-tropic) virus is still unclear. Here, we used a combination of CD4-independent infection system and cholesterol-depletion-inducing reagent, methyl-beta-cyclodextrin (MbetaCD), to address the requirement of raft domain in the X4-tropic virus infection. Treatment of CD4-negative, CXCR4-positive human cells with MbetaCD inhibited CD4-independent infection of the X4-tropic strains. This inhibitory effect of the cholesterol depletion was observed even when the CXCR4 was over-expressed on the target cells. Soluble CD4-induced infection was also inhibited by MbetaCD. The MbetaCD had no effect on the levels of cell surface expression of CXCR4. In contrast to these infections, MbetaCD treatment did not inhibit CD4-dependent HIV-1 infection in the wild type CD4-expressing cells. This study and previous reports showing that CD4 mutants localized to non-raft domains function as HIV-1 receptor indicate that CXCR4 clustering in the raft microdomains, rather than CD4, is the key step for the HIV-1 entry.