Microinjection and Expression of an Infectious Proviral Clone and Subgenomic Envelope Construct of a Human Immunodeficiency Virus
AbstractAn infectious proviral clone of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) was microinjected into the cell nucleus in six cell lines derived from caprine, ovine, bovine, or human solid tissue to study the utility of this method in effecting viral gene expression in nonlymphoid cells. Immunofluorescence assays for HIV demonstrated viral gene expression in only 5% of cells (100â200 cells per line) 24â48 h after microinjection; however, no reverse transcriptase activity was detectable, presumably due to a low level of virus release in this limited number of cells. Therefore, to indirectly assess infectious virus release, microinjected cells were cocultured with human T4 antigen-positive lymphocytes (H9) sensitive to HIV infection. Syncytia formation, electron microscopy, reverse transcriptase activity, and radioimmuno-assay for HIV p24 were used to monitor viral gene expression in cocultures. HIV was efficiently recovered by cocultivating H9 with microinjected cells 48 h after microinjection, regardless of the tissue type or species of origin. H9 syncytia were visualized in some cocultures as early as day 5 but were readily apparent in all experiments on days 7â10. Syncytia induction in H9 was the earliest and most reliable indicator of infectious virus release. A recombinant construct containing a subgenomic envelope gene derived from the proviral clone of HIV was microinjected into human glioblastoma cells. Twenty-four to 48 h after manipulation, 5-20% of microinjected cells were found by immunofluorescence assay to express low levels of a putative gp120. These results suggest a possible approach to producing virus-free HIV envelope antigens in mammalian cells and may be relevant to subunit vaccine development.