Syncytium-inhibiting monoclonal antibodies produced against human T- cell lymphotropic virus type 1-infected cells recognize class II major histocompatibility complex molecules and block by protein crowding

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Four new monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) that inhibit human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1)-induced syncytium formation were produced by immunizing BALB/c mice with HTLV-1-infected MT2 cells. Immunoprecipitation studies and binding assays of transfected mouse cells showed that these MAbs recognize class II major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules. Previously produced anti-class II MHC antibodies also blocked HTLV-1-induced cell fusion. Coimmunoprecipitation and competitive MAb binding studies indicated that class II MHC molecules and HTLV-1 envelope glycoproteins are not associated in infected cells. Anti-MHC antibodies had no effect on human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) syncytium formation by cells coinfected with HIV-1 and HTLV-1, ruling out a generalized disruption of cell membrane function by the antibodies. High expression of MHC molecules suggested that steric effects of bound anti-MHC antibodies might explain their inhibition of HTLV-1 fusion. An anti-class I MHC antibody and a polyclonal antibody consisting of several nonblocking MAbs against other molecules bound to MT2 cells at levels similar to those of class II MHC antibodies, and they also blocked HTLV-1 syncytium formation. Dose-response experiments showed that inhibition of HTLV-1 syncytium formation correlated with levels of antibody bound to the surface of infected cells. The results show that HTLV-1 syncytium formation can be blocked by protein crowding or steric effects caused by large numbers of immunoglobulin molecules bound to the surface of infected cells and have implications for the structure of the cellular HTLV- 1 receptor(s).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9544-9552
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1998
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology

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