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Virology. 1996 Oct 1;224(1):246-55.

Requirement of caprine arthritis encephalitis virus vif gene for in vivo replication.

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INSERM U372, Marseille, France.


Replication of vif-caprine arthritis encephalitis virus (CAEV) is highly attenuated in primary goat synovial membrane cells and blood-derived macrophages compared to the wild-type (wt) virus. We investigated the requirement for CAEV Vif for in vivo replication and pathogenicity in goats by intra-articular injection of either infectious proviral DNA or viral supernatants. Wild-type CAEV DNA or virus inoculation induced persistent infection resulting in severe inflammatory arthritic lesions in the joints. We were unable to detect any sign of virus replication in vif- CAEV DNA inoculated goats, while vif- CAEV virus inoculation resulted in the seroconversion of the goats. However, virus isolation and RT-PCR analyses on blood-derived macrophage cultures remained negative throughout the experiment as well as in joint or lymphoid tissues taken at necropsy. No pathologic lesions could be observed in joint tissue sections examined at necropsy. Goats inoculated with the vif- virus demonstrated no protection against a pathogenic virus challenge. These results demonstrate that CAEV Vif is absolutely required for efficient in vivo virus replication and pathogenicity and provide additional evidence that live attenuated lentiviruses have to establish a persistent infection to induce efficient protective immunity.

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