Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The role of the multifunctional accessory Nef protein in the immunopathogenesis of HIV-2 infection is currently poorly understood. Here, we performed comprehensive functional analyses of 50 nef genes from 21 viremic (plasma viral load, >500 copies/ml) and 16 nonviremic (<500) HIV-2-infected individuals. On average, nef alleles from both groups were equally active in modulating CD4, TCR-CD3, CD28, MHC-I, and Ii cell surface expression and in enhancing virion infectivity. Thus, many HIV-2-infected individuals efficiently control the virus in spite of efficient Nef function. However, the potency of nef alleles in downmodulating TCR-CD3 and CD28 to suppress the activation and apoptosis of T cells correlated with high numbers of CD4(+) T cells in viremic patients. No such correlations were observed in HIV-2-infected individuals with undetectable viral load. Further functional analyses showed that the Nef-mediated downmodulation of TCR-CD3 suppressed the induction of Fas, Fas-L, PD-1, and CTLA-4 cell surface expression as well as the secretion of gamma interferon (IFN-γ) by primary CD4(+) T cells. Moreover, we identified a single naturally occurring amino acid variation (I132T) in the core domain of HIV-2 Nef that selectively disrupts its ability to downmodulate TCR-CD3 and results in functional properties highly reminiscent of HIV-1 Nef proteins. Taken together, our data suggest that the efficient Nef-mediated downmodulation of TCR-CD3 and CD28 help viremic HIV-2-infected individuals to maintain normal CD4(+) T cell homeostasis by preventing T cell activation and by suppressing the induction of death receptors that may affect the functionality and survival of both virally infected and uninfected bystander cells.

Original publication




Journal article


J Virol

Publication Date





4906 - 4920


Amino Acid Substitution, Apoptosis, CD28 Antigens, CD4 Lymphocyte Count, Cell Line, Down-Regulation, Gene Expression, Gene Order, HIV Infections, HIV-2, Humans, Leukocytes, Mononuclear, Lymphocyte Activation, Models, Molecular, Molecular Sequence Data, Phylogeny, Protein Binding, Protein Conformation, Proviruses, Receptor-CD3 Complex, Antigen, T-Cell, Receptors, Cell Surface, Receptors, Death Domain, T-Lymphocytes, Viremia, nef Gene Products, Human Immunodeficiency Virus