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Cell Host Microbe. 2007 Aug 16;2(2):85-95.

HIV-1 buds and accumulates in "nonacidic" endosomes of macrophages.

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Institut Curie, INSERM U653, 26 rue d'Ulm 75248 Paris Cedex 05, France.


Macrophages represent viral reservoirs in HIV-1-infected patients and accumulate viral particles within an endosomal compartment where they remain infectious for long periods of time. To determine how HIV-1 survives in endocytic compartments that become highly acidic and proteolytic and to study the nature of these virus-containing compartments, we carried out an ultrastructural study on HIV-1-infected primary macrophages. The endosomal compartments contain newly formed virions rather than internalized ones. In contrast to endocytic compartments free of viral proteins within the same infected cells, the virus containing compartments do not acidify. The lack of acidification is associated with an inability to recruit the proton pump vacuolar ATPase into the viral assembly compartment. This may prevent its fusion with lysosomes, since acidification is required for the maturation of endosomes. Thus, HIV-1 has developed a strategy for survival within infected macrophages involving prevention of acidification within a devoted endocytic virus assembly compartment.

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