Ligation of the CD4 receptor induces activation-independent down- regulation of L-selectin

S. Marschner, B. A. Freiberg, A. Kupfer, T. Hunig, T. H. Finkel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Lymphocyte circulation plays an important role in the generation of a specific immune response. Mature lymphocytes continuously circulate between blood and lymph, entering the lymphoid tissue via high endothelial venules. Trafficking across high endothelial venules of peripheral lymph nodes (PLN) depends on the expression of L-selectin. It has been shown that L-selectin is rapidly cleaved from the surface by a metalloproteinase after in vitro activation. Here, we show that ligation of CD4, without ligation of the T cell receptor for antigen, causes down-regulation of L-selectin on T helper cells. This down-regulation is caused by proteolytic cleavage by a metalloproteinase and is reversible by the addition of hydroxamic acid-based metalloproteinase inhibitors. We show that in vivo down-regulation of L- selectin in huCD4tg mice by mAb reduces the homing of lymphocytes to PLN in adoptive transfer experiments. Because CD4 is a coreceptor for HIV-1, the down-regulation of L-selectin induced by CD4 ligation could play a role in the pathogenesis of AIDS. We provide evidence that CD4 ligation by HIV-1 induces metalloproteinase-dependent L-selectin down-regulation. Reduced levels of L-selectin expression might contribute to immune deficiency in individuals infected with HIV by inhibiting T cell redistribution and decreasing the probability of an encounter between specific lymphocytes and viral antigens in PLN.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9763-9768
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number17
StatePublished - Aug 17 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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