Background. Several subtypes of HIV-1 circulate in infected people worldwide, including subtype B in the United States and subtype C in Africa and India. To understand the biological properties of HIV-1 subtype C, including cellular tropism, virus entry, replication efficiency and cytopathic effects, we reciprocally inserted our previously characterized envelope V3-V5 regions derived from 9 subtype C infected patients from India into a subtype B molecular clone, pNL4-3. Equal amounts of the chimeric viruses were used to infect T-lymphocyte cell lines (A3.01 and MT-2), coreceptor cell lines (U373-MAGI-CCR5/CXCR4), primary blood T-lymphocytes (PBL) and monocyte-derived macrophages (MDM). Results. We found that subtype C envelope V3-V5 region chimeras failed to replicate in T-lymphocyte cell lines but replicated in PBL and MDM. In addition, these chimeras were able to infect U373MAGI-CD4 +-CCR5+ but not U373MAGI-CD4+-CXCR4+ cell line, suggesting CCR5 coreceptor utilization and R5 phenotypes. These subtype C chimeras were unable to induce syncytia in MT-2 cells, indicative of non-syncytium inducing (NSI) phenotypes. More importantly, the subtype C envelope chimeras replicated at higher levels in PBL and MDM compared with subtype B chimeras and isolates. Furthermore, the higher levels subtype C chimeras replication in PBL and MDM correlated with increased virus entry in U373MAGI-CD4+-CCR5+. Conclusion. Taken together, these results suggest that the envelope V3 to V5 regions of subtype C contributed to higher levels of HIV-1 replication compared with subtype B chimeras, which may contribute to higher viral loads and faster disease progression in subtype C infected individuals than other subtypes as well as rapid HIV-1 subtype C spread in India.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases