Background: The IgG from sera of patients with chronic inflammatory diseases of autoimmune character or some chronic microbial infections is frequently deficient in galactose on N-linked glycans. However, this phenomenon has not been investigated at length in human viral infections.
Objectives: To evaluate the glycosylation of serum IgG in HIV-1-positive patients.
Methods: Psathyrella velutina lectin was used in enzyme-linked immunosorbent and Western blot assays to determine glycosylation. In addition, gas-liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry were utilized to confirm the galactose deficiency observed in the lectin-binding assays.
Results: HIV-1-infected individuals had significantly higher levels of galactose-deficient IgG than healthy controls. In fact, the galactose deficiency of the N-linked glycans observed in other diseases was even more profound in HIV-1 infection. This deficiency was primarily restricted to IgG when total serum glycoproteins were evaluated and IgG1 was the subclass most affected in all patients. Also, a significant increase in lectin binding was observed on IgG2 and IgG4 from HIV-1-positive females compared with HIV-1-negative females.
Conclusions: Identification of deficient galactosylation of serum IgG from HIV-1-infected patients extended the spectrum of diseases in which this phenomenon has been observed. In addition, the results suggest yet another aspect of immune dysfunction as a result of HIV-1 infection.