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gp120-Independent HIV Infection of Cells Derived From the Female Reproductive Tract, Brain, and Colon

Zheng, Junying PhD, MD*; Xie, Yiming MS; Campbell, Richard PhD; Song, Jun PhD, MD*; Wang, Rose Q MD*; Chiu, Robert PhD, MD*; Berenson, James MD; Razi, Miriam BS*; Massachi, Samira BS*; Yang, Otto O MD§; Chen, Irvin S Y PhD; Pang, Shen PhD*

JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes: October 1st, 2006 - Volume 43 - Issue 2 - p 127-136
doi: 10.1097/01.qai.0000228149.17669.08
Basic Science

Summary: The infection of CD4 cells may have significant involvement in the transmission and long-term persistency of HIV. Using HIV clones carrying the enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP), we infected epithelial and glioneuronal cell lines derived from the female reproductive tract, brain, colon, and intestine. HIV infection was quantified by counting EGFP-positive cells. Infection was quantified in cell lines from the female reproductive tract, brain tissue, and colon tissue (0.36%-3.15%). Virus replicated in the infected cells and the progeny virus were infectious for CD4+ cells, HeLa-CD4, and CEM T lymphocytes. Furthermore, we found that infection of these epithelial and brain cell lines is independent of gp120. The results from the infection of CD4 epithelial cells suggest that HIV can traverse epithelial cell layers by infecting them through a gp120-independent mechanism. Infection of glial and neuronal cell lines suggests that HIV infection of these cells is a probable mechanism for HIV pathogenicity in the brain and a possible cause for persistent infection in patients.

From the *UCLA School of Dentistry, UCLA Dental Institute, and Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, Los Angeles, CA; †Departments of Medicine and Microbiology and Immunology, and UCLA AIDS Institute, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA; ‡Institute for Myeloma and Bone Cancer Research, West Hollywood, CA; and §Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA.

Received for publication July 11, 2005; accepted May 8, 2006.

Supported in part by grants from the National Institutes of Health (AI 047722) and The James Pendleton Charitable Trust.

Reprints: Shen Pang, PhD, UCLA School of Dentistry, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1668 (e-mail:

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.