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      Cytokine Signals Are Sufficient for HIV-1 Infection of Resting Human T Lymphocytes

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          Lentiviral vectors have been advocated to be effective vehicles for the delivery and stable expression of genes in nondividing primary cells. However, certain cell types, such as resting T lymphocytes, are resistant to infection with HIV-1. Establishing parameters for stable gene delivery into primary human lymphocytes and approaches to overcome the resistance of resting T cells to HIV infection may permit potential gene therapy applications, genetic studies of primary cells in vitro, and a better understanding of the stages of the lentiviral life cycle. Here we demonstrate that an HIV-1–derived vector can be used for stable delivery of genes into activated human T cells as well as natural killer and dendritic cells. Remarkably, a sizeable fraction of resting T cells was stably transduced with the HIV-1 vector when cultured with the cytokine interleukin (IL)-2, IL-4, IL-7, or IL-15, or, at a lower level, with IL-6, in the absence of any other stimuli. Resting T cells stimulated with these cytokines could also be infected with replication-competent HIV-1. To test the utility of this system for performing structure–function analysis in primary T cells, we introduced wild-type as well as a mutant form of murine CD28 into human T cells and showed a requirement for the CD28 cytoplasmic domain in costimulatory signaling. The ability to stably express genes of interest in primary T cells will be a valuable tool for genetic and structure–function studies that previously have been limited to transformed cell lines. In addition, the finding that cytokine signals are sufficient to permit transduction of resting T cells with HIV may be relevant for understanding mechanism of HIV-1 transmission and pathogenesis.

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          Most cited references 69

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          Identification of a reservoir for HIV-1 in patients on highly active antiretroviral therapy.

          The hypothesis that quiescent CD4+ T lymphocytes carrying proviral DNA provide a reservoir for human immunodeficiency virus-type 1 (HIV-1) in patients on highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) was examined. In a study of 22 patients successfully treated with HAART for up to 30 months, replication-competent virus was routinely recovered from resting CD4+ T lymphocytes. The frequency of resting CD4+ T cells harboring latent HIV-1 was low, 0.2 to 16.4 per 10(6) cells, and, in cross-sectional analysis, did not decrease with increasing time on therapy. The recovered viruses generally did not show mutations associated with resistance to the relevant antiretroviral drugs. This reservoir of nonevolving latent virus in resting CD4+ T cells should be considered in deciding whether to terminate treatment in patients who respond to HAART.
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            Rapid turnover of plasma virions and CD4 lymphocytes in HIV-1 infection.

            Treatment of infected patients with ABT-538, an inhibitor of the protease of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), causes plasma HIV-1 levels to decrease exponentially (mean half-life, 2.1 +/- 0.4 days) and CD4 lymphocyte counts to rise substantially. Minimum estimates of HIV-1 production and clearance and of CD4 lymphocyte turnover indicate that replication of HIV-1 in vivo is continuous and highly productive, driving the rapid turnover of CD4 lymphocytes.
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              Quantification of latent tissue reservoirs and total body viral load in HIV-1 infection.

              The capacity of HIV-1 to establish latent infection of CD4+ T cells may allow viral persistence despite immune responses and antiretroviral therapy. Measurements of infectious virus and viral RNA in plasma and of infectious virus, viral DNA and viral messenger RNA species in infected cells all suggest that HIV-1 replication continues throughout the course of infection. Uncertainty remains over what fraction of CD4+ T cells are infected and whether there are latent reservoirs for the virus. We show here that during the asymptomatic phase of infection there is an extremely low total body load of latently infected resting CD4+ T cells with replication-competent integrated provirus (<10(7) cells). The most prevalent form of HIV-1 DNA in resting and activated CD4+ T cells is a full-length, linear, unintegrated form that is not replication competent. The infection progresses even though at any given time in the lymphoid tissues integrated HIV-1 DNA is present in only a minute fraction of the susceptible populations, including resting and activated CD4+ T cells and macrophages.

                Author and article information

                J Exp Med
                The Journal of Experimental Medicine
                The Rockefeller University Press
                7 June 1999
                : 189
                : 11
                : 1735-1746
                From the [* ]Molecular Pathogenesis Program, Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine, New York University Medical Center, and the []Howard Hughes Medical Institute, New York 10016
                Author notes

                Address correspondence to Derya Unutmaz or Dan R. Littman, Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine, New York University Medical Center, Lab 2-17, 540 First Ave., New York, NY 10016. Phone: 212-263-6921; Fax: 212-263-5711; E-mail: unutmaz@ 123456saturn.med.nyu.edu or littman@ 123456saturn.med.nyu.edu



                hiv, lentiviral vectors, resting t cells, cytokines, costimulation


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