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Virology. 1997 Feb 17;228(2):123-31.

Desialylation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells promotes growth of HIV-1.

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Division of Retrovirology, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Washington, DC 20307-5100, USA.


Activation of peripheral blood CD4+ helper T lymphocytes establishes a permissive state for growth of HIV-1. Activated T lymphocytes expressed increased sialidase (neuraminidase) activity and were hyposialylated. Treatment of freshly isolated peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) with microbial neuraminidase (NANase) or phytohemagglutinin (PHA) prior to infection at low multiplicity with T cell line-adapted HIV-1IIIB resulted in production of large amounts of p24 antigen and reverse transcriptase. In contrast, neither viral component was detected in the medium of mock-treated cells infected at a similar multiplicity through 21 days in culture. The titer of a stock solution of HIV-1IIIB was 1.4 +/- 0.18 log10 greater in NANase-treated PBMCs than in mock-treated cells; the titer was similarly raised 1.5 to 1.76 +/- 0.18 log10 in PHA-treated cells. Growth of the primary isolate HIV-1(91/US/056) was also enhanced in NANase-treated PBMCs; the titer of a stock solution of HIV-1(91/US/056 was 1.0 +/- 0.16 log10 greater in NANase-treated PBMCs than in mock-treated cells 7 days after infection. No enhancement of viral growth in PBMCs was detected when NANase was heat-inactivated or specifically inhibited with 2,3-dehydro-2-desoxy-N-acetyl-neuraminic acid prior to use. Treatment of PBMCs with NANase did not alter the distribution of lymphocyte subsets nor change the density of CD4 antigen per cell after 7 days in culture. Whereas PHA treatment of PBMCs was mitogenic, pretreatment with NANase was not; the amount of [3H]thymidine incorporated into DNA and culture growth characteristics were similar for NANase- and mock-treated cells. Thus, desialylation of PBMCs promoted a permissive state for growth of HIV-1 without affecting the rate of DNA synthesis or relative number of target CD4+ cells.

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