gp120 specific cellular cytotoxicity in HIV-1 seropositive individuals. Evidence for circulating CD16+ effector cells armed in vivo with cytophilic antibody

D. S. Tyler, C. L. Nastala, S. D. Stanley, T. J. Matthews, H. K. Lyerly, D. P. Bolognesi, K. J. Weinhold

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81 Scopus citations


Fresh circulating PBMC from HIV-1 seropositive individuals have been found to mediate specific, non-MHC restricted lysis of targets expressing the major envelope glycoprotein of HIV-1, gp120, in 6-h 51Cr release assays. This gp120 specific cell-mediated cytotoxicity (CMC) is broadly reactive against target cells infected with a wide range of viral isolates, is IL-2 augmentable, and is mediated by a CD16+, Leu-7+, CD15-, CD3- population of NK/K cells. The presence of FcR (CD16) on these cells suggested that the lytic specificity for gp120 might be directed by cytophilic antibody bound to the cell surface. Affinity purified F(ab')2 antibody fragments specific for the Fc and F(ab')2 portions of human IgG were used in attempts to block gp120 specific lysis. A 1/50 dilution of these antibodies inhibited gp120 specific cytolytic activity by more than 90% while exhibiting a minimal effect on NK/K cell lysis of K562 targets. The blocking activity of these fragments demonstrates the direct involvement of cytophilic antibody in CMC. In attempts to isolate this cytophilic anti-HIV-1 antibody, short 56°C incubations were used to dissociate antibodies from the surface of PBMC of seropositive individuals. The supernatants generated in this manner exhibited specific gp120 activity in antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity assays. The ability of Staphylococcal protein A to remove this activity confirms the presence of cytophilic antibody on freshly isolated PBMC. Selective enrichment of specific cell subpopulations revealed the origin of the cytophilic antibody to be CD16+ NK/K cells and not B cells, T cells, or monocytes/macrophages. These studies show that the gp120-specific CMC seen in HIV-1 seropositive individuals is directed by cytophilic antibody bound to circulating CD16+ NK/K cells and represents a form of direct antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity which may provide a primary cytotoxic host defense.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1177-1182
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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