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PLoS Pathog. 2012;8(8):e1002861. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1002861. Epub 2012 Aug 2.

Exon level transcriptomic profiling of HIV-1-infected CD4(+) T cells reveals virus-induced genes and host environment favorable for viral replication.

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Centre de Recherche en Infectiologie, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Québec - CHUL, Faculté de Médecine, Université Laval, Québec City, Québec, Canada.


HIV-1 is extremely specialized since, even amongst CD4(+) T lymphocytes (its major natural reservoir in peripheral blood), the virus productively infects only a small proportion of cells under an activated state. As the percentage of HIV-1-infected cells is very low, most studies have so far failed to capture the precise transcriptomic profile at the whole-genome scale of cells highly susceptible to virus infection. Using Affymetrix Exon array technology and a reporter virus allowing the magnetic isolation of HIV-1-infected cells, we describe the host cell factors most favorable for virus establishment and replication along with an overview of virus-induced changes in host gene expression occurring exclusively in target cells productively infected with HIV-1. We also establish that within a population of activated CD4(+) T cells, HIV-1 has no detectable effect on the transcriptome of uninfected bystander cells at early time points following infection. The data gathered in this study provides unique insights into the biology of HIV-1-infected CD4(+) T cells and identifies genes thought to play a determinant role in the interplay between the virus and its host. Furthermore, it provides the first catalogue of alternative splicing events found in primary human CD4(+) T cells productively infected with HIV-1.

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