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Science. 1991 Jul 5;253(5015):71-4.

Identification of the envelope V3 loop as the primary determinant of cell tropism in HIV-1.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710.


Cells of the monocyte-macrophage lineage are targets for human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) infection in vivo. However, many laboratory strains of HIV-1 that efficiently infect transformed T cell lines replicate poorly in macrophages. A 20-amino acid sequence from the macrophage-tropic BaL isolate of HIV-1 was sufficient to confer macrophage tropism on HTLV-IIIB, a T cell line--tropic isolate. This small sequence element is in the V3 loop, the envelope domain that is the principal neutralizing determinant of HIV-1. Thus, the V3 loop not only serves as a target of the host immune response but is also pivotal in determining HIV-1 tissue tropism.

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