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Accumulation of unintegrated circular viral DNA in monocytes and growth-arrested T cells following infection with HIV-1.

Sonza S, Kiernan RE, Maerz AL, Deacon NJ, McPhee DA, Crowe SM

  • Journal Journal of leukocyte biology

  • Published 10 Oct 1994

  • Volume 56

  • ISSUE 3

  • Pagination 289-93

  • DOI 10.1002/jlb.56.3.289


Cytocidal retrovirus infection is characterized by rapid accumulation of unintegrated viral DNA forms. These are thought to be generated by multiple rounds of reinfection and have been suggested to play a central role in cytopathogenesis. Here we have reviewed the work done in this area with HIV-1, mostly using acutely and chronically infected T cell and monocytic cell lines and in some cases T cells blocked at S phase of the cell cycle by aphidicolin treatment. To these studies, we have compared our findings with HIV-1 infected primary peripheral blood monocyte-derived macrophages and untreated and growth-arrested MT-2 cells, two biologically disparate cell populations. Using 1- and 2-long terminal repeat (LTR) circular forms as indicators of unintegrated viral DNA, we found similar rapid accumulation in both untreated and growth-arrested MT-2 cells. In contrast, we found much lower levels in monocyte/macrophages. Our findings suggest that accumulation of unintegrated viral DNA does not require virus production and reinfection in growth-arrested T cells. The significantly lower levels found in monocyte/macrophages may reflect superinfection resistance, allowing the maintenance of a persistent infection.