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A soluble inhibitor of T lymphocyte function induced by HIV-1 infection of CD4+ T cells: Characterization of a cellular protein and its relationship to p15E

Cellular Immunology
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/0008-8749(90)90031-l
  • Biology
  • Medicine


Abstract Soluble suppressor factor (SSF), first described in association with HIV-1 infection in vivo, is a molecule(s) capable of inhibiting T cell-dependent immune reactivity. Its relationship to human immunodeficiency virus was further defined as supernatants of mononuclear cell cultures from HIV-1-seropositive carriers, CD4+ T lymphocytes infected with HIV-1 in vitro, and a T cell hybridoma incorporating CD4+ lymphocytes from an HIV-1-seropositive individual were shown to elaborate factors with similar activity profiles. These factors were recognized antigenically by certain antibodies directed against epitopes of p15E, a transmembrane protein of murine leukemia virus which shares regions of identity with proteins deduced from human endogenous retroviral envelope transcripts as well as HIV. These reagents precipitated a single-chain, nonglycosylated, nonviral protein of molecular weight 57,000 Da from SSF-producing cells. There was no cross-reactivity with antisera recognizing the IL-2R α-chain (CD25) or tumor necrosis factor. This molecule was present in very low levels in PHA-activated T lymphocytes and was upregulated following their infection with HIV-1. Isolation of HIV-linked SSF should permit comparisons with other virion, cellular, and serum inhibitory substances described in AIDS, and perhaps suggest therapeutic strategies.

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