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Virology. 1996 Mar 15;217(2):613-7.

Identification of the envelope V3 loop as a determinant of a CD4-negative neuronal cell tropism for HIV-1.

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Department of Cancer Biology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Some neuronal-derived CD4-negative cells are susceptible to infection with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). Galactosyl ceramide is an alternate receptor for HIV-1 that appears to bind in vitro to the C2, V3, V4, and V5 regions of gp120. Amino acid variation in the V3 loop of HIV-1 affects cellular tropism in CD4-positive cells, but its effect on CD4-negative cells has not been fully analyzed. Here, we describe the effect of amino acid changes in V3 on the HIV-1 infection of a CD4-negative neuronal cell line, SK-N-MC. The sequence of the V3 domain was found to dramatically alter virus infectivity. Furthermore, a gp120 V3 loop neutralizing monoclonal antibody blocked HIV-1 infection of SK-N-MC cells. This data suggests that V3 may also serve as a primary viral determinant for infectivity of CD4-negative cells.

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