By using immunofluorescence microscopy to observe and analyze freshly made HIV-1 virions adsorbed onto cells, we found that they are inherently highly infectious, rather than predominantly defective as previously suggested. Surprisingly, polycations enhance titers 20- to 30-fold by stabilizing adsorption and preventing a previously undescribed process of rapid dissociation, strongly implying that infectivity assays for many viruses are limited not only by inefficient virus diffusion onto cells but also by a postattachment race between entry and dissociation. This kinetic competition underlies inhibitory effects of CCR5 antagonists and explains why adaptive HIV-1 mutations overcome many cell entry limitations by accelerating entry.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science