Importance of HIV cell-to-cell transmission - implications for neutralizing antibody
Tuckweng Kok, Peng Li


Viruses can infect a cell via one or both routes viz. cell-to-cell (c-c) or cell-free (c-f) . Pathogenesis studies of various viruses, including HIV, have shown that c-c transmission yields a significantly higher infection magnitude than the c-f route. Expectedly, potent antibodies inhibited c-f infection more efficiently than with c-cell transmission. To achieve a one-step, synchronous infection cycle that provides amplified infection, we have studied a consistent and efficient c-c HIV infection model since 1992. H9 cells persistently infected with HTLV-IIIB (H3B cells) and uninfected target CD4+ lymphocyte line (HuT78) were mixed in a ratio of 1:4 respectively. We have recently used this model to produce HIV designer antigens that have been shown to elicit monoclonal as well as polyclonal specific antibodies against novel epitopes that are formed post virus-cell engagement, but prior to fusion. The model can be extended for HIV neutralizing antibody assays or drug inhibitors against high multiplicity of infection.

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