Antibodies to the CD4-binding site (CD4bs) of HIV-1 envelope gp120 have been shown to inhibit MHC class II presentation of this antigen, but the mechanism is not fully understood. To define the key determinants contributing to the inhibitory activity of these antibodies, a panel of anti-CD4bs monoclonal antibodies with different affinities was studied and compared to antibodies specific for the chemokine receptor-binding site or other gp120 regions. Anti-CD4bs antibodies that completely obstruct gp120 presentation exhibit three common properties: relatively high affinity for gp120, acid-stable interaction with gp120, and the capacity to slow the kinetics of gp120 proteolytic processing. None of these antibodies prevents gp120 internalization into APC. Notably, the broadly virus-neutralizing anti-CD4bs IgG1b12 does not block gp120 presentation as strongly, because although IgG1b12 has a relatively high affinity, it dissociates from gp120 more readily at acidic pH and only moderately retards gp120 proteolysis. Other anti-gp120 antibodies, regardless of their affinities, do not affect gp120 presentation. Hence, high-affinity anti-CD4bs antibodies that do not dissociate from gp120 at endolysosomal pH obstruct gp120 processing and prevent MHC class II presentation of this antigen. The presence of such antibodies could contribute to the dearth of anti-gp120 T helper responses in chronically HIV-1-infected patients.
- Antigen presentation/processing
- T cells