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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

CD4 T lymphocytes are primed to express Fas ligand by CD4 cross-linking and to contribute to CD8 T-cell apoptosis via Fas/FasL death signaling pathway.

CD4 molecules serve as coreceptors for the T-cell receptor (TCR)/CD3 complex that are engaged coordinately with TCR and facilitate antigen-specific T-cell activation leading to interleukin 2 (IL-2) production and proliferation. However, cross-ligation of CD4 molecules prior to TCR stimulation has been shown to prime CD4 T cells to undergo apoptosis. Although in vivo and in vitro experiments have implicated the involvement of Fas/FasL interaction in this CD4 cross-linking (CD4XL)-induced apoptosis, detailed mechanisms to account for cell death induction have not been elucidated. In the present study, we demonstrate that CD4XL in purified T cells not only led to Fas up-regulation but also primed CD4 T cells to express FasL upon CD3 stimulation and rendered the T cells susceptible to Fas-mediated apoptosis. Notably, in addition to CD4(+) T cells, CD4XL-induced sensitization for apoptosis was observed in CD8(+) T cells as well and was associated with Bcl-x down-modulation. Both CD4 and CD8 T-cell subsets underwent apoptosis following cell-cell contact with FasL(+) CD4 T cells. CD28 costimulation abrogated CD4XL/CD3- induced apoptosis with restoration of IL-2 production and prevented Bcl-x down-modulation. As CD4 molecules are the primary receptors for human immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV-1), we conclude that HIV-1 envelope mediated CD4XL can lead to the generation of FasL-expressing CD4(+) T cells that can lead to apoptosis of CD4 as well as CD8 T cells. These findings implicate a novel mechanism for CD8 T-cell depletion in HIV disease.[1]


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