The role of viral phenotype and CCR-5 gene defects in HIV-1 transmission and disease progression

Nat Med. 1997 Mar;3(3):338-40. doi: 10.1038/nm0397-338.


Cellular entry of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) requires binding to both CD4 (ref, 1, 2) and to one of the chemokine receptors recently discovered to act as coreceptors. Viruses that infect T-cell lines to form syncytia (syncytium-inducing, SI) are frequently found in late-stage HIV disease and utilize the chemokine receptor CXCR-4; macrophage-tropic viruses are non-syncytium-inducing (NSI), found throughout disease and utilize CCR-5 (ref. 3-11). We postulated that CCR-5 gene defects might reduce infection risk in seronegative subjects and prolong AIDS-free survival in seropositive subjects with NSI but not SI virus. Homozygous (delta ccr5/delta ccr5) and heterozygous (CCR5/delta ccr5) CCR-5 deletions (delta ccr5) were found in 7 (2.7%) and 51 (19.5%), respectively, of 261 seronegative subjects from the San Francisco Men's Health Study. CCR-5/delta ccr5 genotype was identified in 33 of 172 (19.2%) nonprogressors and 25 of 234 (10.7%) progressors from the seropositive arm of this cohort. The delta ccr5 allele conferred a significant protective effect against HIV-1 infection (P = 0.001) and a survival advantage against disease progression (P = 0.02). Although both progressing and nonprogressing CCR5/delta ccr5 subjects were identified, a distinct survival advantage was shown for those with NSI virus (P < 0.0001). Thus, the protective effect of delta ccr5 against disease progression is lost when the infecting virus uses CXCR-4 as a coreceptor.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / virology*
  • Cell Line
  • HIV Infections / transmission
  • HIV Infections / virology*
  • HIV-1 / genetics*
  • Homozygote
  • Humans
  • Mutation
  • Receptors, CCR5
  • Receptors, Cytokine / genetics*
  • Receptors, HIV / genetics*


  • Receptors, CCR5
  • Receptors, Cytokine
  • Receptors, HIV