The HIV-1 Nef protein shares an antigenic determinant with a T-cell surface protein

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ObjectiveTo characterize antigens on uninfected T lymphocytes reactive with monoclonal antibodies (MAb) directed against the HIV-1 Nef protein, and to search for antibodies directed against this epitope in HIV-1-infected individuals.DesignMurine MAb directed against an epitope of Nef defined by amino acids 60–73 reacted with cell surface antigens of normal peripheral blood lymphocytes and permanent human T-cell lines.MethodsThe specificity of the MAb reaction was investigated by flow cytometry and immunofluorescence. The antigen was precipitated from lysates or uninfected cells using MAb or sera from HIV-1-infected individuals and analysed by Western blot and isoelectrofocusing.ResultsAn antigen with an apparent relative molecular mass of 137000 and an isoelectric point of 8.45 was immunoprecipitated with the cross-reactive MAb from uninfected human T cells. Sera from HIV-positive individuals recognizing a Nef epitope partially overlapping with the binding site of the cross-reactive MAb stained the 137 kD protein precipitated with the MAb in Western blot analysis, while HIV-positive sera without antibodies to this Nef region and sera from uninfected individuals were negative.ConclusionThe induction of autoantibodies cross-reactive with cellular surface proteins may play a role in the pathogenesis of AIDS.

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