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Nature. 1989 Jan 26;337(6205):370-3.

Productive dual infection of human CD4+ T lymphocytes by HIV-1 and HHV-6.

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Laboratory of Tumor Cell Biology, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland 20892.


Although infection by HIV-1 has been implicated as the primary cause of AIDS and related disorders, cofactorial mechanisms may be involved in the pathogenesis of the disease. For example, several viruses commonly detected in AIDS patients and capable of transactivating the long terminal repeat of HIV-1, such as herpesviruses, papovaviruses, adenoviruses and HTLV-I have been suggested as potential cofactors. Another candidate is human herpesvirus-6 (HHV-6, originally designated human B-lymphotropic virus), which has not only been identified in most patients with AIDS by virus isolation, DNA amplification techniques and serological analysis, but is also predominantly tropic and cytopathic in vitro for CD4+ T lymphocytes. Here we demonstrate that HHV-6 and HIV-1 can productively co-infect individual human CD4+ T lymphocytes, resulting in accelerated HIV-1 expression and cellular death. We also present evidence that HHV-6 transactivates the HIV-1 long terminal repeat (LTR). These observations indicate that HHV-6 might contribute directly or indirectly to the depletion of CD4+ T cells in AIDS.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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