CD4+ T lymphocyte depletion in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-infected humans underlies the development of acquired immune deficiency syndrome. Using a model in which rhesus macaques were infected with chimeric simian-human immunodeficiency viruses (SHIVs), we show that both the level of viremia and the structure of the HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein ectodomains individually contributed to the efficiency with which CD4+ T lymphocytes were depleted. The envelope glycoproteins of recombinant SHIVs that efficiently caused loss of CD4+ T lymphocytes exhibited increased chemokine receptor binding and membrane-fusing capacity compared with those of less pathogenic viruses. These studies identify the HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein ectodomains as determinants of CD4+ T lymphocyte loss in vivo and provide a foundation for studying pathogenic mechanisms.
- CD4 T lymphocyte depletion
- Envelope glycoprotein
- Rhesus macaques
- Simian-human immunodeficiency virus
ASJC Scopus subject areas