Journal article Open Access

Lymphocyte activation by HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein

Kornfeld, Hardy; Cruikshank, William W.; Pyle, Stephen W.; Berman, Jeffrey S.; Center, David M.

Cell activation by phytohaemagglutinin, phorbol ester and by the supernatant of phytohaemagglutinin-stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells induces the expression and cytopathic effects of latent human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1) in vitro1–3. The lymphocyte surface protein CD4 has been identified as a receptor for HIV-14,5 and binds the viral envelope glycoprotein (gp120)6,7. In the light of evidence indicating that one natural function of CD4 is as a growth factor receptor8–10, we examined the ability of native gp120 to activate resting CD4-bearing lymphocytes. Our results indicate that gp120 has innate biological activity as a result of a specific interaction with CD4, inducing increases in intracellular levels of inositol trisphosphate and of calcium, and in interleukin-2 receptor expression and cell motility.

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