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J Virol. 2000 Jan;74(1):49-56.

Extended analysis of the in vitro tropism of porcine endogenous retrovirus.

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  • 1Division of Cellular and Gene Therapies, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


We previously reported that mitogenic activation of porcine peripheral blood mononuclear cells resulted in production of porcine endogenous retrovirus(es) (PERV[s]) capable of productively infecting human cells (C. Wilson et al., J. Virol. 72:3082-3087, 1998). We now extend that analysis to show that additional passage of isolated virus, named here PERV-NIH, through a human cell line yielded a viral population with a higher titer of infectious virus on human cells than the initial isolate. We show that in a single additional passage on a human cell line, the increase in infectivity for human cells is accounted for by selection against variants carrying pig-tropic envelope sequences (PERV-C) as well as by enrichment for replication-competent genomes. Sequence analysis of the envelope cDNA present in virions demonstrated that the envelope sequence of PERV-NIH is related to but distinct from previously reported PERV envelopes. The in vitro host range of PERV was studied in human primary cells and cell lines, as well as in cell lines from nonhuman primate and other species. This analysis reveals three patterns of susceptibility to infection among these host cells: (i) cells are resistant to infection in our assay; (ii) cells are infected by virus, as viral RNA is detected in the supernatant by reverse transcription-PCR, but the cells are not permissive to productive replication and spread; and (iii) cells are permissive to low-level productive replication. Certain cell lines were permissive for efficient productive infection and spread. These results may prove useful in designing appropriate animal models to assess the in vivo infectivity properties of PERV.

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