A block to human immunodeficiency virus type 1 assembly in murine cells

Roberto Mariani, Gabriel Rutter, Matthew E. Harris, Thomas J. Hope, Hans Georg Kräusslich, Nathaniel R. Landau*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

145 Scopus citations


Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) does not replicate in murine cells. We investigated the basis of this block by infecting a murine NIH 3T3 reporter cell line that stably expressed human CD4, CCR5, and cyclin T1 and contained a transactivatable HIV-1 long terminal repeat (LTR)-green fluorescent protein (GFP) cassette. Although the virus entered efficiently, formed provirus, and was expressed at a level close to that in a highly permissive human cell line, the murine cells did not support M-tropic HIV-1 replication. To determine why the virus failed to replicate, the efficiency of each postentry step in the virus replication cycle was analyzed using vesicular stomatitis virus G pseudotypes. The murine cells supported reverse transcription and integration at levels comparable to those in the human osteosarcoma-derived cell line GHOST.R5, and human cyclin T1 restored provirus expression, consistent with earlier findings of others. The infected murine cells contained nearly as much virion protein as did the human cells but released less than 1/500 the amount of p24(gag) into the culture medium. A small amount of p24(gag) was released and was in the form of fully infectious virus. Electron microscopy suggested that aberrantly assembled virion protein had accumulated in cytoplasmic vesicular structures. Virions assembling at the cell membrane were observed but were rare. The entry of M- tropic JR.FL-pseudotyped reporter virus was moderately reduced in the murine cells, suggesting a minor reduction in coreceptor function. A small reduction in the abundance of full-length viral mRNA transcripts was also noted; however, the major block was at virion assembly. This could have been due to a failure of Gag to target to the cell membrane. This block must be overcome before a murine model for HIV-1 replication can be developed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3859-3870
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Insect Science
  • Virology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology


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