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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1991 Aug 1;88(15):6858-62.

Mutations in the D strand of the human CD4 V1 domain affect CD4 interactions with the human immunodeficiency virus envelope glycoprotein gp120 and HLA class II antigens similarly.

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  • 1Institut d'Embryologie Cellulaire et Moléculaire du Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Collège de France, Nogent sur Marne.


CD4, a cell surface glycoprotein expressed primarily by T lymphocytes and monocytes, interacts with HLA class II antigens to regulate the immune response. In AIDS, CD4 is the receptor for the human immunodeficiency virus, which binds to CD4 through envelope glycoprotein gp120. Delineation of the ligand-binding sites of CD4 is necessary for the development of immunomodulators and antiviral agents. Although the gp120 binding site has been characterized in detail, much less is known about the class II binding site, and it is as yet uncertain whether they partially or fully overlap. To investigate CD4 binding sites, a cellular adhesion assay between COS cells transiently transfected with CD4 and B lymphocytes expressing HLA class II antigens has been developed that is strictly dependent on the CD4--class II interaction, quantitative, and highly reproducible. Mutants of CD4 expressing amino acids with distinct physicochemical properties at positions Arg-54, Ala-55, Asp-56, and Ser-57 in V1, the first extracellular immunoglobulin-like domain, have been generated and studied qualitatively and quantitatively for interaction with HLA class II antigens, for membrane expression, for the integrity of CD4 epitopes recognized by a panel of monoclonal antibodies, and for gp120 binding. The results obtained show that the mutations in this tetrapeptide, which forms the core of a synthetic peptide previously shown to have immunosuppressive properties, affect the two binding functions of CD4 similarly, lending support to the hypothesis that the human immunodeficiency virus mimicks HLA class II binding to CD4.

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