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PLoS pathogens

The CD8-derived chemokine XCL1/lymphotactin is a conformation-dependent, broad-spectrum inhibitor of HIV-1.


PMID 24385911

Abstract

CD8+ T cells play a key role in the in vivo control of HIV-1 replication via their cytolytic activity as well as their ability to secrete non-lytic soluble suppressive factors. Although the chemokines that naturally bind CCR5 (CCL3/MIP-1α, CCL4/MIP- 1β, CCL5/RANTES) are major components of the CD8-derived anti-HIV activity, evidence indicates the existence of additional, still undefined, CD8-derived HIV-suppressive factors. Here, we report the characterization of a novel anti-HIV chemokine, XCL1/lymphotactin, a member of the C-chemokine family that is produced primarily by activated CD8+ T cells and behaves as a metamorphic protein, interconverting between two structurally distinct conformations (classic and alternative). We found that XCL1 inhibits a broad spectrum of HIV-1 isolates, irrespective of their coreceptor-usage phenotype. Experiments with stabilized variants of XCL1 demonstrated that HIV-1 inhibition requires access to the alternative, all-β conformation, which interacts with proteoglycans but does not bind/activate the specific XCR1 receptor, while the classic XCL1 conformation is inactive. HIV-1 inhibition by XCL1 was shown to occur at an early stage of infection, via blockade of viral attachment and entry into host cells. Analogous to the recently described anti-HIV effect of the CXC chemokine CXCL4/PF4, XCL1-mediated inhibition is associated with direct interaction of the chemokine with the HIV-1 envelope. These results may open new perspectives for understanding the mechanisms of HIV-1 control and reveal new molecular targets for the design of effective therapeutic and preventive strategies against HIV-1.