Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.281, No.1, 63-70, 2001
V3 induces in human normal cell populations an accelerated macrophage-mediated proliferation-apoptosis phenomenon of effector T cells when they respond to their cognate antigen
The semi-conserved domain of V3 of HIV-1 was synthesised in a lipopeptide form to be presented on the surface of liposome particles. Composite liposomes were constructed with entrapped tetanus toroid as a recall antigen (lipo-V3/TT liposomes) to study the influence of V3 on effector T cells of human normal peripheral lymphocyte populations. We demonstrated that lipo-V3/TT liposomes induce a V3-specific response characterised by an early, enhanced proliferation of effector CD4+ T cells, followed by a sharp apoptosis. The phenomenon required the presence of monocyte-derived macrophages and CD4+ T cells, but it was qualitatively and quantitatively distinct from the normal soluble antigen-mediated antigen presenting cell: T cell interaction. Presence of the beta -chemokine RANTES in the culture medium inhibited the phenomenon, suggesting that V3 plays a costimulatory role that involves the chemokine receptor CCR5 pathway during the process of antigen presentation to T cells. This observation may be very important if it occurs also in HIV-1 infection, as it may explain the selective and progressive depletion of non-infected effector CD4+ T cells.