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Microbes Infect. 2009 Dec;11(14-15):1106-13. doi: 10.1016/j.micinf.2009.08.004. Epub 2009 Aug 9.

Toxoplasma gondii inhibits R5 HIV-1 replication in human lymphoid tissues ex vivo.

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Section of Intercellular Interactions, Program of Physical Biology, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Critical events of HIV-1 pathogenesis occur in lymphoid tissues where HIV-1 is typically accompanied by infections with other pathogens (HIV co-pathogens). Co-pathogens greatly affect the clinical course of the disease and the transmission of HIV. The apicomplexan parasite Toxoplasma gondii is a common HIV co-pathogen associated with AIDS development. Here, we examined the interaction of T. gondii and HIV in coinfected human lymphoid tissue ex vivo. Both pathogens readily replicate in ex vivo infected blocks of human tonsillar tissue. Surprisingly, we found that live T. gondii preferentially inhibits R5 HIV-1 replication in coinfected tissues. This effect is reproduced by treatment of the tissue blocks with recombinant C-18, a T. gondii-encoded cyclophilin that binds to CCR5. These ex vivo findings raise the possibility that, in addition to being a co-factor in HIV disease, T. gondii may influence the outcome of viral infection by preferentially suppressing R5 variants.

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