NK cells recognize target cells with reduced expression of MHC class I molecules. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection decreases MHC class I on the cell membrane. The aim of this study was to directly evaluate the role and conditions of NK cell effects in HIV seropositive patients ex vivo. Autologous HIV-infected CD4+ T cells were exposed to NK cells recognition. We discovered an increased lysis of the target cells after infection with human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1). The expression of the HIV-1 nef gene or the combined expression of nef and tat confers NK susceptibility to autologous CD4+ targets. Downregulation of MHC class I but not HLA-C or CD4 correlated with increased recognition by NK cells. The specific recognition is correlated with downregulation of MHC class I molecules on the infected target cells.
- MHC class I