The T4 molecule (CD4) is an important component of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) receptor. As yet, no other component has been demonstrated. We report here that two cell lines, a B lymphoblastoid cell line (Gupta) and a glial cell line (HEB) derived from human embryonal brain tissue, are productively infectable with two distinct isolates of HIV as judged by electron microscopy and immunological and virological studies. These two cell lines do not display detectable surface CD4 glyco‐protein. However, using S1 nuclease analysis, we have found that both cell lines do express low levels of CD4 mRNA. Neither of them produced syncytia formation upon HIV infection, a recognized feature of HIV‐infected cells strongly expressing the CD4 glycoprotein. It is conceivable that the CD4 mRNA is translated, resulting in meager surface expression of CD4 molecules undetectable by conventional techniques. Therefore, infection with HIV may be one of the most sensitive methods of demonstrating low levels of CD4 expression by human cells. Furthermore, HIV‐infected Gupta cells have here been shown to be more susceptible to the lytic activity of natural killer (NK) cells than their uninfected counterparts. These phenomena may be important for pathogenesis of HIV‐associated disorders.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy