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Immunity. 2001 Oct;15(4):671-82.

HIV-1 actively replicates in naive CD4(+) T cells residing within human lymphoid tissues.

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Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology, School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94141, USA.


Although HIV-1 gene expression is detected in naive, resting T cells in vivo, such cells are resistant to productive infection in vitro. However, we found that the endogenous microenvironment of human lymphoid tissues supports de novo infection and depletion of this population. Cell cycle analysis and DNA labeling experiments established that these cells were definitively quiescent and thus infected de novo. Quantitation of the "burst size" within naive cells further demonstrated that these cells were productively infected and contributed to the local viral burden. These findings demonstrate that lymphoid tissues support active HIV-1 replication in resting, naive T cells. Moreover, these cells are not solely reservoirs of latent virus but are permissive hosts for viral replication that likely targets them for elimination.

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