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J Virol. 2005 Nov;79(22):14179-88.

Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 can establish latent infection in resting CD4+ T cells in the absence of activating stimuli.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, USA.


Resting CD4(+) T cells are the best-defined reservoir of latent human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection, but how the reservoir is formed is unclear. Understanding how the reservoir of latently infected cells forms is critical because it is a major barrier to curing HIV infection. The system described here may provide an in vitro model of latent HIV-1 infection in resting CD4(+) T cells. We demonstrated that HIV-1 integrates into the genomes of in vitro-inoculated resting CD4(+) T cells that have not received activating stimuli and have not entered cell cycle stage G(1b). A percentage of the resting CD4(+) T cells that contain integrated DNA produce virus upon stimulation, i.e., are latently infected. Our results show that latent HIV-1 infection occurs in unstimulated resting CD4(+) T cells and suggest a new route for HIV-1 reservoir formation.

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