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Type 1 HIV gp120 is especially effective in disrupting immune cell function because it is able to cause dysregulation of both infected and uninfected cells. We report a novel CCR5-dependent mechanism of gp120-induced CD4 loss from macrophages. An M-tropic gp120, using CCR5, is able to induce 70% loss of cell surface CD4 from macrophages within an hour. This cell surface CD4 loss is more substantial and rapid than the 20% loss observed with T-tropic gp120(IIIB) by 3 h. The rapid and substantial CD4 loss induced by M-tropic gp120 is not observed on macrophages homozygous for the ccr5Delta32 mutation, which fail to express cell surface CCR5. We have used confocal imaging to show that gp120 and CD4 are internalized together by a process resembling receptor-mediated endocytosis, and that both proteins enter HLA-DR containing compartments of the macrophage. We have also shown by semiquantitative RT-PCR that, in response to CD4 loss from the cell surface, mRNA for CD4 is up-regulated and the intracellular pool of CD4 increases. CCR5 mRNA levels are also increased. It is proposed that internalization of self and viral protein and increased pools of intracellular CD4 could modulate Ag presentation efficiencies and have implications for the induction and maintenance of both productive immune responses and self-tolerance.

Original publication




Journal article


J Immunol

Publication Date





4835 - 4842


CD4 Antigens, Cell Membrane, Cells, Cultured, Child, Down-Regulation, Endocytosis, HIV Envelope Protein gp120, HIV-1, HLA-DR Antigens, Humans, Macrophages, RNA, Messenger, Receptors, CCR5, Serum Albumin, Bovine, T-Lymphocytes, Transport Vesicles, Up-Regulation