Send to

Choose Destination
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 May 14;99(10):7015-20.

Persistent HIV-1 infection of natural killer cells in patients receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy.

Author information

Human Retrovirus Section, Basic Research Laboratory, National Cancer Institute, Frederick, MD 21702, USA.


We have identified a subset of CD56(+)CD3(-) human natural killer (NK) cells that express CD4 and the HIV coreceptors CCR5 and CXCR4. These cells can be productively infected in vitro by both CCR5- and CXCR4-using molecular clones of HIV-1 in a CD4-dependent manner. Analysis of HIV-infected persons showed that viral DNA is present in purified NK cells, and virus could be rescued from these cells after in vitro cultivation. Longitudinal analysis of the HIV-1 DNA levels in NK cells from patients after 1-2 years of highly active antiretroviral therapy indicated that NK cells remain persistently infected and account for a substantial amount of the viral DNA in peripheral blood mononuclear cells. These results demonstrate that a subset of non-T cells with NK markers are persistently infected and suggest that HIV infection of NK cells is important for virus persistence. The properties of the virus reservoir in these cells should be considered in attempts to further optimize antiretroviral therapies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center