Analysis of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) variants and levels of infection in dendritic and T cells from symptomatic HIV-1-infected patients.
Patterson S., English NR., Longhurst H., Balfe P., Helbert M., Pinching AJ., Knight SC.
Dendritic cells (DC) are required to initiate primary cellular immune responses. Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection of DC may be central to transmission and persistence of virus and in the pathogenesis of AIDS. In symptomatic HIV-1-infected patients the proportion of DC in the mononuclear cell population was reduced. Provirus load in the T cells was 3-100 times higher than in DC and there was no correlation between the levels of infection in the two cell types. Phylogenetic analysis of amino acids in the V3 loop and flanking regions indicated intermingling of sequences and thus provides the first evidence for transfer of virus between DC and T cells in vivo. In one of three patients analysed there were significant differences in amino acid residues in the V3 region. This may reflect reduced interactions between DC and T cells in infected individuals and for the existence of variants with a stronger tropism for DC, which could play a role in transmission by initiating infection in mucosal DC.