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Microbiol Immunol. 1994;38(11):871-8.

Human immunodeficiency virus Vpx is required for the early phase of replication in peripheral blood mononuclear cells.

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Institute for Virus Research, Kyoto University, Japan.


Functional importance of Vpx protein of human immunodeficiency virus type 2 was evaluated in various types of cells. In 8 lymphocytic or monocytic cell lines tested, vpx mutant virus grew as well as wild-type virus. Only in primary peripheral blood mononuclear cell cultures, severely retarded growth of mutant virus was observed. No replication of vpx-minus virus was detected in primary macrophage cells. A highly sensitive single-round replication assay system was used to determine the defective replication phase in primary mononuclear cells of vpx mutant virus. In all cell lines examined, vpx mutant displayed no abnormality. In contrast, the vpx mutant was demonstrated to be defective at an early stage of the infection cycle in primary cell cultures. No evidence of a replication-defect at a late phase in primary cells of the vpx mutant was obtained by a transfection-coculture method. These results indicate that the virion-associated Vpx protein is essential for early viral replication process in natural target cells such as primary macrophages.

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