Endogenous factors enhance HIV infection of tissue naive CD4 T cells by stimulating high molecular mass APOBEC3G complex formation

J Exp Med. 2006 Apr 17;203(4):865-70. doi: 10.1084/jem.20051856. Epub 2006 Apr 10.


Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) can infect resting CD4 T cells residing in lymphoid tissues but not those circulating in peripheral blood. The molecular mechanisms producing this difference remain unknown. We explored the potential role of the tissue microenvironment and its influence on the action of the antiviral factor APOBEC3G (A3G) in regulating permissivity to HIV infection. We found that endogenous IL-2 and -15 play a key role in rendering resident naive CD4 T cells susceptible to HIV infection. Infection of memory CD4 T cells also requires endogenous soluble factors, but not IL-2 or -15. A3G is found in a high molecular mass complex in HIV infection-permissive, tissue-resident naive CD4 T cells but resides in a low molecular mass form in nonpermissive, blood-derived naive CD4 T cells. Upon treatment with endogenous soluble factors, these cells become permissive for HIV infection, as low molecular mass A3G is induced to assemble into high molecular mass complexes. These findings suggest that in lymphoid tissues, endogenous soluble factors, likely including IL-2 and -15 and others, stimulate the formation of high molecular mass A3G complexes in tissue-resident naive CD4 T cells, thereby relieving the potent postentry restriction block for HIV infection conferred by low molecular mass A3G.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • APOBEC-3G Deaminase
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / virology*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Culture Media, Conditioned
  • Cytidine Deaminase
  • HIV Infections / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-15 / physiology
  • Interleukin-2 / physiology
  • Molecular Weight
  • Nucleoside Deaminases / metabolism*
  • Palatine Tonsil / cytology
  • Palatine Tonsil / metabolism
  • Palatine Tonsil / virology
  • Repressor Proteins / metabolism*


  • Culture Media, Conditioned
  • Interleukin-15
  • Interleukin-2
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Nucleoside Deaminases
  • APOBEC-3G Deaminase
  • APOBEC3G protein, human
  • Cytidine Deaminase