Resistance to apoptosis in HIV-infected CD4+ T lymphocytes is mediated by macrophages: role for Nef and immune activation in viral persistence

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Pediatrics

Publication Date


Document Type



Animals; Apoptosis; CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes; CHO Cells; Cell Communication; Cells, Cultured; Cricetinae; Gene Products, nef; Green Fluorescent Proteins; HIV-1; Humans; Immunity, Innate; Jurkat Cells; Luminescent Proteins; Lymphocyte Activation; Macrophages; NF-kappa B; Transfection; Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha; Virus Latency; nef Gene Products, Human Immunodeficiency Virus


Immunology and Infectious Disease | Pediatrics


Apoptosis or programmed cell death may play a critical role in AIDS pathogenesis through depletion of both CD4(+) and CD8(+) T lymphocytes. Using a reporter virus, a recombinant HIV infectious clone expressing the green fluorescent protein (GFP), apoptosis was measured in productively infected CD4(+) T lymphocytes, in the presence and absence of autologous macrophages. The presence of macrophages in the culture increased the frequency of nonapoptotic GFP-positive productively infected CD4(+) T lymphocytes. The appearance of nonapoptotic productively infected CD4(+) T lymphocytes in the culture required intercellular contacts between macrophages and PBLs and the expression of the HIV Nef protein. The presence of macrophages did not reduce apoptosis when CD4(+) T lymphocytes were infected with a GFP-tagged virus deleted for the nef gene. TNF-alpha (TNF) expressed on the surface of macrophages prevented apoptosis in nef-expressing, productively infected CD4(+) T lymphocytes. Similarly, following TNF stimulation, apoptosis was diminished in Jurkat T cells transfected with a nef-expressing plasmid. TNF stimulation of nef-expressing Jurkat T cells resulted in NF-kappaB hyperactivation, which has been shown to deliver anti-apoptotic signals. Our results indicate that intercellular contacts with macrophages increase the rate of productively infected nonapoptotic CD4(+) T lymphocytes. The survival of productively infected CD4(+) T lymphocytes requires Nef expression as well as activation by TNF expressed on the surface of macrophages and might participate in the formation and maintenance of viral reservoirs in HIV-infected persons.


J Immunol. 2000 Dec 1;165(11):6437-46.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950)

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Link to Article in PubMed

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