HIV infection leads to differential expression of T-cell receptor V beta genes in CD4+ and CD8+ T cells

AIDS. 1993 May;7(5):633-8. doi: 10.1097/00002030-199305000-00004.


Objective: To analyse variation in T-cell receptor (TCR) V beta gene expression in T cells in HIV-infected individuals.

Design: Because there are very few monoclonal antibodies available for studying TCR V beta gene expression, we used polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to analyse the TCR V beta repertoire in HIV-infected individuals using specific primers for 20 distinct families of TCR V beta.

Methods: Evaluation of TCR V beta gene expression in peripheral blood from HIV-1-infected individuals [two in Centers for Disease Control (CDC) stage II, five in CDC stage III and four in CDC stage IV]. Complementary DNA was produced from CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, amplified by PCR and analysed after Southern blotting and hybridization with a C beta-specific oligonucleotide probe.

Results: V beta gene expression was dramatically modified, especially in AIDS patients. The CD4+ T-cell subset showed both overexpression (V beta 2) and deletions or underexpression (V beta 9-V beta 20), whereas these gene segments were expressed normally in the CD8+ subset. Only V beta 3 was deleted or underexpression in both CD4+ and CD8+ populations in AIDS patients.

Conclusions: HIV-1 infection induces CD4+ T-cell deficiency, both in total numbers and by causing a paucity of select V beta gene expression in this subset. In addition, the V beta 3 gene family was deleted or underexpressed was observed in both CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell subsets from patients in CDC stage IV. These results are compatible with changes in V beta gene expression known to occur under the action of endogenous or exogenous superantigens.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • CD4 Antigens
  • CD8 Antigens
  • DNA / genetics
  • DNA Probes
  • Gene Expression
  • HIV Antigens
  • HIV Infections / genetics
  • HIV Infections / immunology*
  • HIV-1* / immunology
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta / genetics*
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*


  • CD4 Antigens
  • CD8 Antigens
  • DNA Probes
  • HIV Antigens
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta
  • DNA