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CD4+ T-cells are unable to express the HIV natural resistance factor globotriosylceramide

Kim, Minjia,c; Binnington, Bethb; Sakac, Darinkac; Lingwood, Clifford A.b,d; Branch, Donald R.a,c,d

doi: 10.1097/QAD.0b013e32835f1ec5
Research letter

Globotriaosylceramide (Gb3) is a cell surface-expressed natural resistance factor for HIV infection, but, its expression in human T-cells remains unknown. Therefore, Gb3 in resting or activated CD4+ T-cells was assessed by flow cytometry and thin layer chromatography of cell extracts. We found the majority of CD4+ T-cells, whether resting or activated, do not express Gb3 at significant levels (<2% positive cells). Thus, HIV treatment or prevention strategies must focus on development of soluble Gb3 analogues for inhibition of HIV infection.

aDepartment of Medicine, University of Toronto

bMolecular Structure and Function, Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute

cCanadian Blood Services, Research and Development

dDepartments of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, and Biochemistry, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario M5G 2M1, Canada.

Correspondence to Donald Robert Branch, PhD, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Tel: +1 416 313 4458; fax: +1 416 974 9757; e-mail:

Received 13 December, 2012

Revised 21 December, 2012

Accepted 17 January, 2013

© 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.