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AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 1996 Nov 1;12(16):1509-17.

Neutralization of HIV type 1 infectivity by serum antibodies from a subset of autoimmune patients with mixed connective tissue disease.

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Department of Medicine, University of Southern California School of Medicine, Los Angeles 90033, USA.


Mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD) is a rheumatic disorder with clinical similarities to HIV-1 infection, and with characteristic autoimmune anti-RNP antibodies specific for the U1 snRNP splicing complex. Anti-RNP antibodies cross-react with the HIV-1 surface, owing to multiple homologies between the gp120/41 envelope complex and the 70K protein of U1 snRNP. A key epitope of 70K, its RNA-binding site, is homologous to a dominant B and T cell epitope in the third variable loop (V3) of gp120. In this study, we tested the ability of anti-RNP sera to inhibit HIV-1 infectivity in vitro. Of nine sera tested, five were 70-99% effective in neutralizing one or more HIV-1 strains. One serum was > 99% effective in neutralizing HIV-1MN, and 86 and 77% effective against the primary isolates HIV-1(CO) and HIV-1(JR-FL), respectively, an efficacy equal to that of a pool of broadly neutralizing antibodies from HIV-1-infected subjects (HIVIG). The mean neutralizing titer of anti-RNP sera against HIV-1(JR-FL) was 3.9-fold higher than that of HIVIG. Neutralizing potency was associated with high reactivity to gp120 by ELISA, and with the presence of serum rheumatoid factor, known to enhance antibody neutralization of other viruses. The current findings provide further evidence that individuals unexposed to HIV-1 may develop immunologic resistance by alternative mechanisms, possibly including molecular mimicry, or exposure to as yet unidentified retroviruses. Thus MCTD, which involves both B and T cell reactivity to self-epitopes homologous to HIV-1, may elucidate new strategies for generating protective immunity to this virus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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