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The Envelope Glycoprotein of HIV-1 Alters NMDA Receptor Function


Paul M. Sweetnam, at present address: Pfizer Central Research, Groton, CT 06340, USA


Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) infection often results in central nervous system (CNS) dysfunction, yet the mechanism(s) of action for HIV-1 in the CNS are not fully understood. In the present study gp120, the HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein, was shown to selectively inhibit N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor function. In addition to inhibiting radioligand binding to rat NMDA receptors, gp120 inhibited NMDA-induced currents in Xenopus oocytes, attenuated NMDA-stimulated calcium flux and cytotoxicity in cultured cerebellar granule cells, and provided partial protection against NMDA-induced lethality in vivo. These findings suggest that NMDA receptor complex is a possible site of action of HIV-1 within the CNS.