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Virology. 2008 Mar 30;373(1):30-8. Epub 2007 Dec 20.

Derivation of infectious HIV-1 molecular clones with LTR mutations: sensitivity to the CD8+ cell noncytotoxic anti-HIV response.

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Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143-1270, USA.


CD8(+) cells from healthy, asymptomatic HIV-1-infected individuals can inhibit HIV-1 replication in naturally or acutely infected CD4(+) cells in the absence of cell killing. This CD8(+) cell noncytotoxic anti-HIV response (CNAR) is mediated by a soluble CD8(+) cell antiviral factor (CAF). CNAR/CAF inhibits HIV-1 replication by blocking viral RNA transcription. HIV transcription is regulated by a variety of cis-acting DNA sequence elements within the proviral long terminal repeat (LTR). We hypothesized that one of the HIV-1 LTR proviral DNA sequence elements that binds host cell transcriptional factors is involved in this antiviral activity. To assess this possibility, we constructed full-length infectious HIV-1 molecular clones with mutations in the LTR elements NFAT, AP-1, IL-2 homology region, and the downstream ISRE. We also tested full-length infectious molecular clones that had deletions of either the NF-kappaB or Sp1 sites of the LTR or lacked functional Tat and TAR elements. Viruses generated from these molecular clones were used to acutely infect CD4(+) cells that subsequently were either co-cultured with CD8(+) cells from individuals that exhibited strong CNAR or cultured with CAF-containing fluids. The replication of all of the mutant HIV-1 viruses tested was substantially reduced in the presence of CNAR/CAF. These findings suggest that other regions in the viral LTR or other host cell processes are involved in the transcriptional block elicited by CNAR/CAF.

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