DNA found in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 particles may not be required for infectivity

J Gen Virol. 1994 Jul:75 ( Pt 7):1605-13. doi: 10.1099/0022-1317-75-7-1605.


We have studied the presence and significance of retroviral genome-derived DNA in the core of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) particles produced from transfections of HXB2 expression vectors in COS-7 cells and from HIV type 1 IIIB chronically infected H9 cells. Viruses purified by sucrose cushion centrifugation and treated with DNase I contained 1000-fold more viral RNA than DNA. However, protease-defective viruses that contained only p160gag-pol had less than 100 times the amount of DNA in their cores than wild-type viruses suggesting that the p66/p51 form of reverse transcriptase was responsible for DNA transcription. Viruses produced by transfections in the presence of 3'-azido-3'-deoxythymidine (AZT) contained the viral RNA genome but only DNA of premature length because of the chain terminating effects of AZT. However such viruses were as infections for CD4+ cells as wild-type virus. We conclude that retrovirus-derived DNA in HIV-1 particles is not required for infection and does not play a significant role in this process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • DNA, Viral / analysis*
  • Gene Amplification
  • Gene Products, gag / physiology
  • Genome, Viral*
  • HIV Core Protein p24 / analysis
  • HIV Reverse Transcriptase
  • HIV-1 / chemistry
  • HIV-1 / genetics*
  • HIV-1 / physiology
  • Humans
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Protein Precursors / physiology
  • RNA, Viral / analysis
  • RNA, Viral / genetics
  • RNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / physiology
  • T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • Transfection
  • Virus Replication / drug effects
  • Zidovudine / pharmacology


  • DNA, Viral
  • Gene Products, gag
  • HIV Core Protein p24
  • Protein Precursors
  • RNA, Viral
  • p55 gag precursor protein, Human immunodeficiency virus 1
  • Zidovudine
  • HIV Reverse Transcriptase
  • RNA-Directed DNA Polymerase