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AIDS. 1994 Jul;8(7):901-9.

Comparison of in vivo plasma and peripheral blood mononuclear cell HIV-1 quasi-species to short-term tissue culture isolates: an analysis of tat and C2-V3 env regions.

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Irwin Memorial Blood Centers, San Francisco, CA 94118.



To determine whether the HIV-1 genomes that grow out in vitro from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) better represent the in vivo quasi-species present in plasma or PBMC.


For one patient (9606), PBMC culture represented more accurately the plasma rather than the in vivo PBMC quasi-species distribution, because a large number of tat-defective proviruses present in PBMC in vivo were not detected in plasma nor in the PBMC cultures. For a second patient (9605), PBMC culture was representative of both in vivo PBMC and plasma tat sequences, but selection of C2-V3 env sequences was observed in PBMC cultures compared with sequences present in both plasma and PBMC in vivo. This selection consisted of the absence in vitro of genomes with certain amino-acid substitutions at or near conserved glycosylation sites of the C2 region at positions 276 and 289. Site 276 has been reported to be important for viral infectivity, and these substitutions may therefore have affected infectivity. In the third patient (10095), selection of both tat and C2-V3 sequences was observed in culture as compared to plasma and PBMC in vivo. In contrast to the first two patients, this third patient contained V3 sequences in vivo that were predicted to impart syncytium induction and enhanced replication capacity. It was these sequences that grew out preferentially in vitro.


This study suggests that short-term PBMC culture is representative of HIV-1 genomes present in PBMC and plasma in vivo to the degree that they are infectious.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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