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J Virol. 2001 Sep;75(18):8842-7.

Cytopathicity of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 primary isolates depends on coreceptor usage and not patient disease status.

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Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology, University of California, San Francisco, California 94141-9100, USA.


It has been hypothesized that human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) evolves toward increased cytopathicity in conjunction with disease progression in infected patients. A viral property known to evolve in some but not all patients is coreceptor utilization, and it has been shown that a switch in coreceptor utilization is sufficient for the development of increased cytopathicity. To test the hypothesis that the evolution of other viral properties also contributes to accelerating cytopathicity in vivo, we used human lymphoid tissue explants to assay the cytopathicity of a panel of primary HIV-1 isolates derived from various stages of disease characterized by the presence or absence of changes in coreceptor preference. We found no evidence of coreceptor-independent increases in cytopathicity in isolates obtained either before coreceptor preference changes or from patients who progressed to AIDS despite an absence of coreceptor evolution. Instead, the cytopathicity of all HIV-1 isolates was determined solely by their coreceptor utilization. These results argue that HIV-1 does not evolve toward increased cytopathicity independently of changes in coreceptor utilization.

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