Altered T cell adherence after human immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV-1) infection may contribute to viral pathogenesis in the acquired immune deficiency syndrome. To address this hypothesis, we assessed mechanisms of T cell adherence to extracellular matrix proteins in vitro. We found that after HIV-1 infection, both chronically infected H9 CD4+ T cells and acutely infected primary peripheral blood lymphocytes acquired the ability to adhere to the extracellular matrix glycoprotein fibronectin, to a lesser extent to type IV collagen and laminin, but not to type I collagen. H9 cells chronically infected with two of the three HIV-1 strains studied showed approximately a sevenfold increase in attachment to fibronectin, while the same cells infected with the human retrovirus HIV-2 did not. Adhesion was accompanied by changes in morphology, including marked spreading and increased filopodia. These alterations were not blocked by the protein kinase C inhibitor H-7, which did inhibit TPA-induced T cell attachment to fibronectin. Monoclonal antibodies against both the alpha 5 and the beta 1 subunits of the classical fibronectin receptor as well as an Arg-Gly-Asp (RGD) peptide inhibited attachment, whereas anti-alpha 4 monoclonal antibodies and the CS1 peptide did not. Binding to collagen IV was also inhibited by the anti-beta 1 monoclonal antibody, but not the other antibodies. Cells metabolically labeled with [35S]methionine and analyzed by immunoprecipitation with polyclonal anti-beta 1 integrin antibody showed a 2.5-fold increase in integrin synthesis in infected cells compared to uninfected controls. This increase in synthesis was associated with an increase in cell surface expression of both alpha 5 and beta 1 integrins by FACS (registered trademark of Becton Dickinson for a fluorescence-activated cell sorter) analysis. Enhanced expression of integrins such as alpha 5 beta 1 may cause T cell adherence to a variety of tissues, where released viral gene products may induce some of the tissue-specific manifestations of HIV-1 infection.

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