CD40 ligand (CD154) incorporated into HIV virions induces activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID) expression in human B lymphocytes

PLoS One. 2010 Jul 6;5(7):e11448. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0011448.


Most AIDS-associated non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (AIDS-NHL) arises from errors in immunoglobulin heavy-chain gene (IgH) class switch recombination (CSR) or somatic hypermutation (SHM), events that occur in germinal center (GC) B cells and require the activity of activation induced cytidine deaminase (AID). Several oncogenic viruses (EBV, HCV, HPV) can induce AID gene (AID) expression, and elevated AID expression is seen in circulating lymphocytes prior to AIDS-NHL diagnosis. Here, we report that HIV produced in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) induced AID expression in normal human B cells. Since HIV produced in PBMC contains host cell CD40 ligand (CD40L) incorporated into the viral membrane, and CD40L is known to induce AID expression in human B cells, the role of virion-associated CD40L in HIV-induced AID expression was examined. Only viruses expressing functional CD40L were seen to induce AID expression; CD40L-negative HIV did not induce AID expression. The induction of AID expression by CD40L+ HIV was abrogated by addition of blocking anti-CD40L antibody. AID protein was detected in B cells exposed to CD40L+ HIV using intracellular multicolor flow cytometry, with most AID producing B cells expressing the CD71 activation marker on their surface. Therefore, HIV virions that express CD40L induce AID expression in B cells, and this induction appears to be due to a direct interaction between CD40L on these viruses and CD40 on B cells. These findings are consistent with a role for HIV in the direct stimulation of B cells, potentially leading to the accumulation of molecular lesions that have the potential to contribute to the development of NHL.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • B-Lymphocytes / enzymology*
  • B-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • B-Lymphocytes / virology*
  • CD40 Ligand / metabolism*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytidine Deaminase / genetics
  • Cytidine Deaminase / metabolism*
  • Flow Cytometry
  • HIV / genetics
  • HIV / metabolism*
  • HIV / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Virion / genetics
  • Virion / metabolism*


  • CD40 Ligand
  • Cytidine Deaminase