We previously reported that certain short gp120 V2 region peptides homologous to vasaoactive intestinal peptide (VIP), such as "peptide T," were potent inhibitors of gp120 binding, infectivity, and neurotoxicity. The present study shows that synthetic V2-region-derived peptides have potent intrinsic chemotaxis agonist activity for human monocytes and also act as antagonists of high-affinity (0.1 pM) gp120-mediated monocyte chemotaxis. Selectivity is shown in that peptide T is more potent at suppressing M-tropic than T-tropic gp120 chemotaxis. Peptide T was also able to suppress monocyte chemotaxis to MIP-1beta, a chemokine with selectivity for CCR5 chemokine receptors, while chemotaxis of the more promiscuous ligand RANTES was not inhibited, nor was chemotaxis mediated by SDF-1alpha. In order to determine if peptide T mediated its gp120 antagonistic effects via modulation of CCR5 receptors, RANTES chemotaxis was studied using a CCR5 receptor-transfected HOS cell line. In this case, RANTES chemotaxis was potently inhibited by V2-region-derived short peptides. Peptide T also partially suppressed (125)I-MIP1-beta binding to human monocytes, suggesting action at a subset of MIP1-beta receptors. The V2 region of gp120 thus contains a potent receptor binding domain and synthetic peptides derived from this region modulate CCR5 chemokine receptor chemotactic signaling caused by either gp120 or chemokine ligands. The results have therapeutic implications and may explain recent clinical improvements, in that HIV/gp120 actions at CCR5 receptors, such as occur in the brain or early infection, would be susceptible to peptide T inhibition.
Copyright 1999 Academic Press.