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J Virol. 2005 Dec;79(23):14482-8.

Endocytosis and a low-pH step are required for productive entry of equine infectious anemia virus.

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  • 1Dept. Microbiology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.


Recently, it has become evident that entry of some retroviruses into host cells is dependent upon a vesicle-localized, low-pH step. The entry mechanism of equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV) has yet to be examined. Here, we demonstrate that wild-type strains of EIAV require a low-pH step for productive entry. Lysosomotropic agents that inhibit the acidification of internal vesicles inhibited productive entry of EIAV. The presence of ammonium chloride (30 mM), monensin (30 microM), or bafilomycin A (50 nM) in the medium dramatically decreased the number of EIAV antigen-positive cells. We found that a low-pH step was required for EIAV infection of tissue culture cell lines as well as primary cells, such as endothelial cells and monocyte-derived macrophages. The ammonium chloride treatment did not reduce virion stability, nor did the treatment prevent virion binding to cells. Consistent with a requirement for a low-pH step, virion infectivity was enhanced more than threefold by brief low-pH treatment following binding of viral particles to permissive cells. A superinfecting variant strain of EIAV, vMA-1c, did not require a low-pH step for productive infection of fibroblasts. However, lysosomotropic agents were inhibitory to vMA-1c infection in the other cell types that vMA-1c infected but did not superinfect, indicating that the entry pathway used by vMA-1c for superinfection abrogates the need for the low-pH step.

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