Efficient Nef-Mediated Downmodulation of TCR-CD3 and CD28 Is Associated with High CD4(+) T Cell Counts in Viremic HIV-2 Infection

M Khalid, HX Yu, D Sauter, SM Usmani, J Schmokel, J Feldman, Rob Gruters, Marchina Ende, M Geyer, S Rowland-Jones, Ab Osterhaus, F Kirchhoff

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The role of the multifunctional accessory Nef protein in the immunopathogenesis of HIV-2 infection is currently poorly understood. Here, we performed comprehensive functional analyses of 50 nef genes from 21 viremic (plasma viral load, > 500 copies/ml) and 16 nonviremic (<500) HIV-2-infected individuals. On average, nef alleles from both groups were equally active in modulating CD4, TCR-CD3, CD28, MHC-I, and Ii cell surface expression and in enhancing virion infectivity. Thus, many HIV-2-infected individuals efficiently control the virus in spite of efficient Nef function. However, the potency of nef alleles in downmodulating TCR-CD3 and CD28 to suppress the activation and apoptosis of T cells correlated with high numbers of CD4(+) T cells in viremic patients. No such correlations were observed in HIV-2-infected individuals with undetectable viral load. Further functional analyses showed that the Nef-mediated downmodulation of TCR-CD3 suppressed the induction of Fas, Fas-L, PD-1, and CTLA-4 cell surface expression as well as the secretion of gamma interferon (IFN-gamma) by primary CD4(+) T cells. Moreover, we identified a single naturally occurring amino acid variation (I132T) in the core domain of HIV-2 Nef that selectively disrupts its ability to downmodulate TCR-CD3 and results in functional properties highly reminiscent of HIV-1 Nef proteins. Taken together, our data suggest that the efficient Nef-mediated downmodulation of TCR-CD3 and CD28 help viremic HIV-2-infected individuals to maintain normal CD4(+) T cell homeostasis by preventing T cell activation and by suppressing the induction of death receptors that may affect the functionality and survival of both virally infected and uninfected bystander cells.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)4906-4920
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Research programs

  • EMC MM-04-27-01
  • EMC MM-04-28-04

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