Publications & Reports

Intracellular Dynamics of HIV Infection.

Petravic J, Ellenberg P, Chan ML, Paukovics G, Smyth RP, Mak J, Davenport MP
Complex Systems in Biology Group, Centre for Vascular Research, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia.


Early studies of HIV infection dynamics suggested that virus-producing HIV-infected cells had an average half-life of approximately 1 day. However, whether this average behavior is reflective of the dynamics of individual infected cells is unclear. Here, we use HIV-enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) constructs and flow cytometry sorting to explore the dynamics of cell infection, viral protein production, and cell death in vitro. By following the numbers of productively infected cells expressing EGFP over time, we show that infected cell death slows down over time. Although infected cell death in vivo could be very different, our results suggest that the constant decay of cell numbers observed in vivo during antiretroviral treatment could reflect a balance of cell death and delayed viral protein production. We observe no correlation between viral protein production and death rate of productively infected cells, showing that viral protein production is not likely to be the sole determinant of the death of HIV-infected cells. Finally, we show that all observed features can be reproduced by a simple model in which infected cells have broad distributions of productive life spans, times to start viral protein production, and viral protein production rates. This broad spectrum of the level and timing of viral protein production provides new insights into the behavior and characteristics of HIV-infected cells.


  • Journal: Journal of Virology
  • Published: 01/01/2014
  • Volume: 88
  • Issue: 2
  • Pagination: 1113-1124


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