The vif gene of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) greatly enhances the infectivity of HIV-1 virions that are released from cells classified as nonpermissive (e.g., lymphocytes, macrophages, and H9 leukemic T cells) but is irrelevant in permissive cells (e.g., HeLa or COS cells). Recently, it was reported that vif expression in nonpermissive cells dramatically increases infectivity not only of HIV-1 but also of other enveloped viruses, including murine leukemia viruses (MLVs). This was surprising in part because MLVs and other murine retroviruses lack vif genes yet replicate efficiently in T lymphocytes. To investigate these issues, we first developed improved methods for producing substantial quantities of HIV- 1 virions with vif deletions from healthy H9 cells. These virions had approximately the same amounts of major core proteins and envelope glycoproteins as the control wild-type virions but were only approximately 1% as infectious. We then produced H9 cells that contained wild-type or vif deletion HIV-gpt proviruses, which lack a functional env gene. After superinfection with either xenotropic or amphotropic MLVs, these cells released HIV-gpt virions pseudotyped with an MLV envelope plus replication- competent MLV. Interestingly, the pseudotyped HIV-gpt (vif deletion) virions were noninfectious, whereas the MLV virions simultaneously released from the same H9 cells were fully infectious. These results strongly suggest that the Vif protein functions in a manner that is both cell specific and at least substantially specific for HIV-1 and related lentiviruses. In addition, these results confirm that vif deletion HIV-1 virions from nonpermissive cells are blocked at a postpenetration stage of the infection pathway.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science