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AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 1999 May 1;15(7):647-53.

Phenotypic characteristics of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 subtype C isolates of Ethiopian AIDS patients.

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Microbiology and Tumor Biology Center, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.


It has been estimated that, to date, about 48% of all HIV-infected people in the world carry HIV-1 subtype C virus. Therefore, it is of great importance to gain better knowledge about the genetic and biological characteristics of this virus subtype. In the present study, the biological properties of HIV-1 isolates obtained from nine Ethiopian patients with AIDS were studied. DNA sequencing of the V3 loop of gp120 classified the isolates as subtype C. In primary isolation cultures, virus infection was accompanied by syncytium formation and cell lysis. Interestingly, when examining the growth in primary monocyte-macrophage cultures, initial low-level virus replication was followed by a nonproductive state, from which virus could be rescued by cocultivation with Jurkat(tat) cells. Furthermore, none of the isolates replicated in T cell lines (CEM, MT-2, HuT-78, and H9) or in the promonocytic cell line U937 clone 2. All isolates could use CCR5 as coreceptor, whereas no isolates could use CCR2b, CCR3, CCR5, CXCR4, Bonzo/STRL33, or BOB/GPR15. The genotype of the V3 region correlated with the MT-2 negative/non-syncytium-inducing (NSI) phenotype. Comparative studies revealed that the scarcity of CXCR4 usage as well as other phenotypic characteristics of subtype C isolates distinguish this subtype. On the basis of these data, we suggest that in addition, factors other than viral phenotype may govern the pathogenic potential of subtype C isolates.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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