Indexed on: 20 Jun '95Published on: 20 Jun '95Published in: Virology
To examine whether the mutation of protease in an HIV-1 resistant to a protease inhibitor affects the virus phenotype in vitro, the infectivity of the protease inhibitor-escape-virus was compared to that of the parent virus. In different T-cell lines, the infectivity of the escape virus was impaired by 10-fold compared to the parent virus. MT-4 cell killing by the escape virus, measured using the MTT assay, was much weaker than that by the parent virus. The escape virus contained more unprocessed Pr55gag than the parent virus. A delayed appearance of mature p24 in cells chronically infected with the escape virus was also noticed by the pulse-chase method. The same findings were obtained using pNL432 (HIV-1 DNA molecular clone) with the same mutation in the protease gene. Despite the lack of a significant difference in virus binding, less unintegrated and integrated DNA was detected in MT-4 cells infected with the escape virus compared to the parent virus. The impaired infectivity of the escape virus may be explained by the inefficient maturation of Gag proteins, due to the mutated protease, which may affect an early step in the virus life cycle.