HIV escape from natural killer cytotoxicity: nef inhibits NKp44L expression on CD4+ T cells.
ABSTRACT HIV infection induces a progressive depletion of CD4 T cells. We showed that NKp44L, a cellular ligand for an activating natural killer (NK) receptor, is expressed on CD4 T cells during HIV infection and is correlated with both CD4 cell depletion and increase in viral load. NKp44LCD4 T cells are highly sensitive to the NK lysis activity. In contrast, HIV-infected CD4 T cells are resistant to NK killing, suggesting that HIV-1 developed strategies to avoid detection by the host cell immunity.
To assess whether viral protein can affect NKp44L expression, using Nef-deficient virus as well as a panel of recombinant vaccinia viruses expressing all HIV-1 viral proteins was tested. The involvement of Nef in the downmodulation of NKp44L was determined using defined mutants of Nef. Functional consequences of Nef on NK-cell recognition were evaluated by either 51Cr-release assays and degranulation assays in presence of anti-NKp44L mAb.
We observed that during HIV-1 infection, noninfected CD4 T cells exclusively expressed NKp44L, and demonstrate that Nef mediates NKp44L intracellular retention in HIV-infected cells. This has functional consequences on HIV-infected CD4 T cells recognition by NK cells, causing a decreased susceptibility to NK cytotoxicity. Furthermore, experiments in presence of neutralizing NKp44L mAb revealed that Nef inhibitory effect on NK cytotoxicity mainly depends on the NKp44L pathway.
This novel escape mechanism could explain the resistance of HIV-infected cells to NK lysis and as a result play a key role in maintaining the HIV reservoir by avoiding recognition by NK cells.
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ABSTRACT: HIV-1 Nef and Vpu are thought to optimize virus replication in the infected host, at least in part via their ability to interfere with vesicular host cell trafficking. Despite the use of distinct molecular mechanisms, Nef and Vpu share the specificity for some molecules such as CD4 and MHC-I, while disruption of intracellular transport of the host cell restriction factor CD317/tetherin represents a specialized activity of Vpu not exerted by HIV-1 Nef. To establish a profile of host cell receptors whose intracellular transport is affected by Nef, Vpu or both, we comprehensively analyzed the effect of these accessory viral proteins on cell surface receptors levels on A3.01 T lymphocytes. 36 out of 105 detectable receptors were significantly downregulated by HIV-1 Nef, revealing a previously unappreciated scope with which HIV-1 Nef remodels the cell surface of infected cells. Remarkably, the effects of HIV-1 Vpu on host cell receptor exposure largely matched those of HIV-1 Nef in breadth and specificity (32 of 105, all also targeted by Nef), even though the magnitude was generally less pronounced. Of particular note, cell surface exposure of all members of the tetraspanin (TSPAN) protein family analyzed was reduced by both Nef and Vpu, and the viral proteins triggered the enrichment of TSPANs in a perinuclear area of the cell. While Vpu displayed significant colocalization and physical association with TSPANs, interactions of Nef with TSPANs were less robust. TSPANs thus emerge as a major target of deregulation in host cell vesicular transport by HIV-1 Nef and Vpu. The conservation of this activity in two independent accessory proteins suggests its importance for spread of HIV-1 in the infected host.Journal of Virology 10/2014; DOI:10.1128/JVI.02333-14 · 4.65 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Natural killer (NK) cells are a key constituent of the innate immune system, protecting against bacteria, virally infected cells, and cancer. Recognition and protective function against such cells are dictated by activating and inhibitory receptors on the surface of the NK cell, which bind to specific ligands on the surface of target cells. Among the activating receptors is a small class of specialized receptors termed the natural cytotoxicity receptors (NCRs) comprised of NKp30, NKp46, and NKp44. The NCRs are key receptors in the recognition and termination of virally infected and tumor cells. Since their discovery over 10 years ago, ligands corresponding to the NCRs have largely remained elusive. Recent identification of the cellular ligands for NKp44 and NKp30 as exosomal proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) and HLA-B-associated transcript 3 (BAT3), respectively, implicate that NCRs may function as receptors for damage-associated molecular pattern (DAMP) molecules. In this review, we focus on NKp44, which surprisingly recognizes two distinct ligands resulting in either activation or inhibition of NK cell effector responses in response to tumor cells. The inhibitory function of NKp44 requires further study as it may play a pivotal role in placentation in addition to being exploited by tumors as a mechanism to escape NK cell killing. Finally, we suggest that the NCRs are a class of pattern recognition receptors, which recognize signals of genomic instability and cellular stress via interaction with the c-terminus of DAMP molecules localized to the surface of target cells by various co-ligands.Frontiers in Immunology 01/2015; 6:31. DOI:10.3389/fimmu.2015.00031