Coreceptor usage of primary human immunodeficiency virus type 1 isolates varies according to biological phenotype

J Virol. 1997 Oct;71(10):7478-87. doi: 10.1128/JVI.71.10.7478-7487.1997.


The biological phenotype of primary human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) isolates varies according to the severity of the HIV infection. Here we show that the two previously described groups of rapid/high, syncytium-inducing (SI) and slow/low, non-syncytium-inducing (NSI) isolates are distinguished by their ability to utilize different chemokine receptors for entry into target cells. Recent studies have identified the C-X-C chemokine receptor CXCR4 (also named fusin or Lestr) and the C-C chemokine receptor CCR5 as the principal entry cofactors for T-cell-line-tropic and non-T-cell-line-tropic HIV-1, respectively. Using U87.CD4 glioma cell lines, stably expressing the chemokine receptor CCR1, CCR2b, CCR3, CCR5, or CXCR4, we have tested chemokine receptor specificity for a panel of genetically diverse envelope glycoprotein genes cloned from primary HIV-1 isolates and have found that receptor usage was closely associated with the biological phenotype of the virus isolate but not the genetic subtype. We have also analyzed a panel of 36 well-characterized primary HIV-1 isolates for syncytium induction and replication in the same series of cell lines. Infection by slow/low viruses was restricted to cells expressing CCR5, whereas rapid/high viruses could use a variety of chemokine receptors. In addition to the regular use of CXCR4, many rapid/high viruses used CCR5 and some also used CCR3 and CCR2b. Progressive HIV-1 infection is characterized by the emergence of viruses resistant to inhibition by beta-chemokines, which corresponded to changes in coreceptor usage. The broadening of the host range may even enable the use of uncharacterized coreceptors, in that two isolates from immunodeficient patients infected the parental U87.CD4 cell line lacking any engineered coreceptor. Two primary isolates with multiple coreceptor usage were shown to consist of mixed populations, one with a narrow host range using CCR5 only and the other with a broad host range using CCR3, CCR5, or CXCR4, similar to the original population. The results show that all 36 primary HIV-1 isolates induce syncytia, provided that target cells carry the particular coreceptor required by the virus.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / immunology*
  • Cell Line
  • Cell-Free System
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Genotype
  • Giant Cells
  • HIV Core Protein p24 / metabolism
  • HIV Seropositivity / immunology*
  • HIV-1 / genetics
  • HIV-1 / isolation & purification
  • HIV-1 / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Membrane Proteins / physiology*
  • Phenotype
  • Receptors, CXCR4
  • Receptors, Cytokine / physiology*
  • Receptors, HIV / physiology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / virology*
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / genetics
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / physiology*
  • Virus Replication*


  • HIV Core Protein p24
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Receptors, CXCR4
  • Receptors, Cytokine
  • Receptors, HIV
  • Viral Envelope Proteins