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Virology. 2006 May 25;349(1):184-96. Epub 2006 Mar 7.

Infection of CD4+ T lymphocytes by the human T cell leukemia virus type 1 is mediated by the glucose transporter GLUT-1: evidence using antibodies specific to the receptor's large extracellular domain.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Walther Cancer Institute, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN 46202-5114, USA.


To analyze HTLV-1 cytotropism, we developed a highly sensitive vaccinia virus-based assay measuring activation of a reporter gene upon fusion of two distinct cell populations. We used this system in a functional cDNA screening to isolate and confirm that the glucose transporter protein 1 (GLUT-1) is a receptor for HTLV-1. GLUT-1 is a ubiquitously expressed plasma membrane glycoprotein with 12 transmembrane domains and 6 extracellular loops (ECL). We demonstrate for the first time that peptide antibodies (GLUT-IgY) raised in chicken to the large extracellular loop (ECL1) detect GLUT-1 at the cell surface and inhibit envelope (Env)-mediated fusion and infection. Efficient GLUT-IgY staining was detected with peripheral blood CD4(+) lymphocytes purified by positive selection. Further, GLUT-IgY caused efficient inhibition of Env-mediated fusion and infection of CD4(+) T and significantly lower inhibition of CD8(+) T lymphocytes. The specificity of GLUT-IgY antibodies to GLUT-1 was demonstrated by ECL1 peptide competition studies. Grafting ECL1 of GLUT-1 onto the receptor-negative GLUT-3 conferred significant receptor activity. In contrast, grafting ECL1 of GLUT-3 onto GLUT-1 resulted in a significant loss of the receptor activity. The ECL1-mediated receptor activity was efficiently blocked with four different human monoclonal antibody (HMab) to HTLV-1 Env. The ECL1-derived peptide blocked HTLV-1 Env-mediated fusion with several nonhuman mammalian cell lines. The results demonstrate the utilization of cell surface GLUT-1 in HTLV-1 infection of CD4(+) T lymphocytes and implicate a critical role for the ECL1 region in viral tropism.

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