In vivo fate of HIV-1-infected T cells: quantitative analysis of the transition to stable latency

Nat Med. 1995 Dec;1(12):1284-90. doi: 10.1038/nm1295-1284.


Although it is presumed that the integration of HIV-1 into the genome of infected CD4+ T lymphocytes allows viral persistence, there has been little direct evidence that CD4+ T cells with integrated provirus function as a latent reservoir for HIV-1 in infected individuals. Using resting CD4+ T-cell populations of extremely high purity and a novel assay that selectively and unambiguously detects integrated HIV-1, we show that resting CD4+ T cells harbouring integrated provirus are present in some infected individuals. However, these cells do not accumulate within the circulating pool of resting CD4+ T cells in the early stages of HIV-1 infection and do not accumulate even after prolonged periods in long-term survivors of HIV-1 infection. These results suggest that because of viral cytopathic effects and/or host effector mechanisms, productively infected CD4+ T cells do not generally survive for long enough to revert to a resting memory state in vivo.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / virology*
  • Cell Separation
  • DNA Primers
  • DNA, Viral / analysis*
  • HIV Infections / blood
  • HIV Infections / virology*
  • HIV-1 / genetics*
  • HIV-1 / isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Proviruses / genetics*
  • Virus Integration
  • Virus Latency


  • DNA Primers
  • DNA, Viral