The viral accessory gene product Nef has been shown to play an important role in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-induced pathogenesis. Only little information is available regarding the differences in the host immune responses against Nef protein and its function in vivo among different subtypes of HIV-1. In the present study, we showed marked differences in the immune responses to Nef protein between subtypes B and E. The amino acid sequence in subtype E Nef showed 72% homology with that in subtype B. Most murine monoclonal antibodies obtained by immunization with subtype B or E Nef protein showed cross-reactivity with both Nef proteins (80 and 67%, respectively). Next, we focused on the immune responses among infected Japanese and Thai individuals. Subtyping of the individuals into B and E was carried out by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) using synthetic peptides corresponding to the V3 loop representing the principal neutralizing domain. Most of the sera from these individuals reacted strongly with Gag p24 proteins derived from subtypes B and E at similar levels. However, the immune responses among these individuals to Nef protein were markedly different. Some subtype B-infected Japanese and Thai individuals (40 and 35%, respectively) showed higher levels of anti-Nef antibodies, although these antibodies preferentially recognized epitopes specific to subtype B. On the other hand, most of the subtype E-infected Japanese and Thai individuals showed low or no antibody responses to Nef proteins. Thus, immune responses to Nef were markedly different between subtypes B- and E-infected carriers, suggesting different function(s) for Nef in AIDS pathogenesis. Further, vaccine design must take into account the different subtypes of HIV-1.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Medicine
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Infectious Diseases