Unexpectedly high levels of HIV-1 RNA and protein synthesis in a cytocidal infection

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Science  16 Dec 1988:
Vol. 242, Issue 4885, pp. 1554-1557
DOI: 10.1126/science.3201245


The expression of a laboratory strain of HIV-1 (HTLV-IIIB) has been studied in mitogen-stimulated peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBLs) and in two lymphoid cell lines (CEM cells and C8166 cells). HIV-expressing cells contained from 300,000 to 2,500,000 copies of viral RNA per cell. Near-synchronous expression of an active infection could be achieved in C8166 cells. In these cells, the high copy numbers of viral RNA used as much as 40% of total protein synthesis for the production of viral gag protein, with high levels of viral RNA and protein synthesis preceding cell death by 2 to 4 days.

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