Infection by human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) leads to progressive destruction of the CD4+ T-cell subset, resulting in immune deficiency and AIDS. The specific binding of the viral external envelope glycoprotein of HIV-1, gp120, to the CD4 molecules initiates viral entry. In the past few years, several studies have indicated that the interaction of HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein with cells and molecules of the immune system leads to pleiotropic biological effects on immune functions, which include effects on differentiation of CD34+ lymphoid progenitor cells and thymocytes, aberrant activation and cytokine secretion patterns of mature T cells, induction of apoptosis, B-cell hyperactivity, inhibition of T-cell- dependent B-cell differentiation, modulation of macrophage functions, interactions with components of complement, and effects on neuronal cells. The amino acid sequence homologies of the envelope glycoproteins with several cellular proteins have suggested that molecular mimicry may plays a role in the pathogenesis of the disease. This review summarizes work done by several investigators demonstrating the profound biological effects of envelope glycoproteins of HIV-1 on immune system cells. Extensive studies have also been done on interactions of the viral envelope proteins with components of the immune system which may be important for eliciting a 'protective immune response.' Understanding the influences of HIV-1 envelope glycoproteins on the immune system may provide valuable insights into HIV-1 disease pathogenesis and carries implications for the trials of HIV-1 envelope protein vaccines and immunotherapeutics.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology