In HIV-1 epidemics in China, HIV-1 subtype B′ is the most predominant subtype circulating in intravenous drug users. In this study, we constructed an HIV-1 full-length infectious molecular clone based on the primary virus LWJ, which was isolated from an HIV-infected patient in Fujian Province, China. Phylogenetic and bootscanning analysis of the viral sequence revealed that the isolate LWJ belonged to HIV-1 subtype B′. The infectious clone was designated as “pLWJ”. The virus (LWJ-c) produced from this infectious clone by in vitro transfection of 293T cells could infect both human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and human the T cell line MT4. Interestingly, the cloned LWJ-c virus utilized CXCR4 as its co-receptor and could replicate in vitro with similar efficiency and kinetics compared to its parental primary isolate LWJ as well as the clade B reference virus NL4-3. The LWJ-c virus could also cause cytopathic effects in both PBMCs and MT cells. Sequence analysis of the envelope glycoprotein of pLWJ showed that a conserved GPGR motif and an arginine at position 11 were present in the V3 loop, which was consistent with previous reports regarding CXCR4 co-receptor usage and syncytium-inducing (SI) phenotype. Thus, the infectious clone represents a fast-replicating, high-producing, CXCR4-tropic and syncytium-inducing isolate. Given the prevalence of HIV-1 subtype B′ in China, this infectious clone can be a very useful tool to provide a versatile molecular model for research focusing on the biological properties of this subtype.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 1, 2010
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