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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 Oct 15;99(21):13843-8. Epub 2002 Oct 4.

A dominant block to HIV-1 replication at reverse transcription in simian cells.

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  • 1The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, Infectious Disease Laboratory, 10010 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA 92037.


Although nonhuman primates are genetically close to humans, their T cells do not support productive replication of HIV-1. In contrast, HIV-1 replicates in activated human CD4(+) T cells, monocytes, and metabolically active human cells of a variety of cell types become permissive for HIV-1 replication when transduced to express CD4 and CCR5 or CXCR4. The molecular basis of this species restriction to HIV-1 replication was investigated by using African green monkey and rhesus macaque cell lines that were stably transduced to express human CD4 and CCR5. The cells supported replication of cognate viruses [simian immunodeficiency virus from African green monkeys (SIV-AGM) and macaques (SIVmac239)] but did not support replication of an R5-tropic cytopathic HIV-1. A beta-lactamase-based HIV-1 entry assay was used to show that the virus efficiently entered the nonhuman primate cells. Provirus formation was reduced 50-fold compared with similarly infected human cells. Real-time PCR quantitation demonstrated that reverse transcription failed to initiate efficiently in the simian cells. The block to reverse transcription was overridden at multiplicity of infection >1 or by preincubation of the nonhuman primate cells with virus, a feature reminiscent of the Friend virus resistance gene-1 (FV-1), restriction to murine leukemia virus replication in mouse cells. Heterokaryon analysis in which human and simian cells were fused demonstrated that the block was dominant. These findings suggested that the primate cells contain a dominant inhibitor that prevents HIV-1 reverse transcription.

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