B and T lymphocyte attenuator down-regulation by HIV-1 depends on type I interferon and contributes to T-cell hyperactivation

Zheng Zhang, Xiangsheng Xu, Jiyun Lv, Shuye Zhang, Lanlan Gu, Junliang Fu, Lei Jin, Haiying Li, Min Zhao, Jiyuan Zhang, Hao Wu, Lishan Su, Yang Xin Fu, Fu Sheng Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Background. Nonspecific T-cell hyperactivation is the main driving force for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 disease progression, but the reasons why the excess immune response is not properly shut off are poorly defined. Methods. Eighty-five HIV-1-infected individuals were enrolled to characterize B and T lymphocyte attenuator (BTLA) expression and function. Infection and blockade assays were used to dissect the factors that influenced BTLA signaling in vitro. Results. BTLA expression on overall CD4+ and CD8 + T cells was progressively decreased in HIV-1 infection, which was directly correlated with disease progression and CD4+ T-cell differentiation and activation. BTLA+CD4+ T cells from HIV-1-infected patients also displayed an altered immune status, which was indicated by reduced expression of naive markers but increased activation and exhaustion markers. Cross-linking of BTLA can substantially decrease CD4 + T-cell activation in vitro. This responsiveness of CD4+ T cells to BTLA-mediated inhibitory signaling was further found to be impaired in HIV-1-infected patients. Furthermore, HIV-1 NL4-3 down-regulated BTLA expression on CD4+ T cells dependent on plasmacytoid dendritic cell (pDC)-derived interferon (IFN)-α. Blockade of IFN-α or depletion of pDCs prevents HIV-1-induced BTLA downregulation. Conclusions. HIV-1 infection potentially impairs BTLA-mediated signaling dependent on pDC-derived IFN-α, which may contribute to broad T-cell hyperactivation induced by chronic HIV-1 infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1668-1678
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 1 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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