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Microbiol Immunol. 1991;35(9):729-40.

Coexistence of fusion receptors for human T-cell leukemia virus type-I (HTLV-I) and human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1) on MOLT-4 cells.

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  • 1Department of Biodefence and Medical Virology, Kumamoto University Medical School, Japan.


Human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1) and human T-cell leukemia virus type-I (HTLV-I) have a similar tropism for target cell types, especially for CD4+ T cells. In this study, we provide evidence that receptors of these two viruses exist independently on the target cell. We established an HTLV-I-producing CD8+ T cell line (ILT-8M2) with a remarkable cell fusion capacity. When cocultured with MOLT-4 cells, ILT-8M2 cells induced giant syncytia more efficiently than any other tested HTLV-I-producer cell lines. In contrast to other HTLV-I-producers, ILT-8M2 cells were minimally susceptible to cytopathic effects of HIV-1 due to very low expression of CD4, although they were able to be persistently infected by HIV-1. The indicator MOLT-4 cells are known to respond well to HIV-1-induced cell fusion, but they lose this ability if they become persistently infected with HIV-1 because of the reduction of CD4 receptor expression. ILT-8M2 was, however, still capable of inducing syncytia with the MOLT-4 cells persistently infected by HIV-1 (MOLT-4/IIIB). This syncytium formation was dependent on the HTLV-I-envelope, as it was inhibited by HTLV-I-positive human sera or a monoclonal antibody to HTLV-I gp46 but not by monoclonal antibodies to HIV-1 gp120 or CD4. Moreover, ILT-8M2 cells persistently infected by HIV-1 (ILT-8M2/IIIB) induced both HTLV-I- and HIV-1-mediated syncytia with uninfected MOLT-4 cells. These results suggest that HTLV-I induces cell fusion utilizing receptors on the target cells independent of HIV-1-receptors.

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