The concentration of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) particles in blood plasma is very predictive of the subsequent disease course in an infected individual; its measurement has become one of the most important parameters for monitoring clinical status. Steady-state virus levels in plasma reflect a balance between the rates of virions entering and leaving the peripheral blood. We analyzed the rate of virus clearance in the general circulation in rhesus macaques receiving a continuous infusion of cell-free particles in the presence and absence of virus-specific antibodies. Here we show, by measuring virion RNA, particle-associated p24 Gag protein and virus infectivity, that the clearance of physical and infectious particles from a primary, dual-tropic virus isolate, HIV-1(DH12), is very rapid in naive animals, with half-lives ranging from 13 to 26 minutes. In the presence of high-titer HIV-1(DH12)-specific neutralizing antibodies, the half-life of virion RNA was considerably reduced (to 3.9-7.2 minutes), and infectious virus in the blood became undetectable. Although physical virus particles were eliminated extravascularly, the loss of virus infectivity in the blood reflected the combined effects of extravascular clearance and intravascular inactivation of HIV-1 infectivity due to antibody binding.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)