Roles of CD4 and coreceptors in binding, endocytosis, and proteolysis of gp120 envelope glycoproteins derived from human immunodeficiency virus type 1

Susan L. Kozak, Shawn E. Kuhmann, Emily J. Platt, David Kabat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Infections by human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) involve interactions of the viral envelope glycoprotein gp120 with CD4 and then with a coreceptor. R5 isolates of HIV-1 use CCR5 as a coreceptor, whereas X4 isolates use CXCR4. It is not known whether coreceptors merely trigger fusion of the viral and cellular membranes or whether they also influence the energetics of virus adsorption, the placement of the membrane fusion reaction, and the metabolism of adsorbed gp120. Surprisingly, the pathway for metabolism of adsorbed gp120 has not been investigated thoroughly in any cells. To address these issues, we used purified 125I-gp120s derived from the R5 isolate BaL and from the X4 isolate IIIB as ligands for binding onto human cells that expressed CD4 alone or CD4 with a coreceptor. The gp120 preparations were active in forming ternary complexes with CD4 and the appropriate coreceptor. Moreover, the cellular quantities of CD4 and coreceptors were sufficient for efficient infections by the corresponding HIV-1 isolates. In these conditions, the kinetics and affinities of 125I- gp120 adsorptions and their subsequent metabolisms were strongly dependent on CD4 but were not significantly influenced by CCR5 or CXCR4. After binding to CD4, the 125I-gp120s slowly became resistant to extraction from the cell monolayers by pH 3.0 buffer, suggesting that they were endocytosed with half- times of 1-2 h. Within 20-30 min of endocytosis, the 125I-gp120s were proteolytically degraded to small products that were shed into the media. The weak base chloroquine strongly inhibited 125I-gp120 proteolysis and caused its intracellular accumulation suggesting involvement of a low pH organelle. Results supporting these methods and conclusions were obtained by confocal immunofluorescence microscopy. We conclude that the energetics, kinetics, and pathways of 125I-gp120 binding, endocytosis, and proteolysis are determined principally by CD4 rather than by coreceptors in cells that contain sufficient coreceptors for efficient infections. Therefore, the role of coreceptors in HIV-1 infections probably does not include steerage or subcellular localization of adsorbed virus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23499-23507
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number33
StatePublished - Aug 13 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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