We have investigated the effects of the fusion of liposomes with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) on the ability of the virus to infect CD4 and CD4 cells. Fluorescence dequenching measurements indicated that HIV-1 fuses with liposomes composed of either cardiolipin (CL) or N-[2,3-(dioleyloxy) propyl]--trimethyl ammonium chloride (DOTMA) but not appreciably with dioleoylphosphatidylcholine (DOPC) liposomes. Pre-incubation of HIV-1 with DOTMA liposomes enhanced virus production (measured by p24 antigen production in the culture medium and ) in CD4 A3.01 and H9 cells in a concentration-dependent manner, but did not mediate the infection of the CD4 cell line, K562. Preincubation of HIV-1 with between 10 and 30 µ-DOTMA liposomes, and subsequent incubation with A3.01 cells, resulted in the production of about 30-fold greater levels of virus than controls. The presence of DOTMA liposomes during the incubation of A3.01 cells with HIV-1 enhanced the infectivity of the virus up to 90-fold compared to controls. Conversely, preincubation of HIV-1 with CL liposomes inhibited infection of A3.01 cells, dependent on the concentration of liposomes; DOPC liposomes did not alter the infectivity of the virus under any of the incubation conditions. Our results thus indicate that fusion of HIV-1 with liposomes alters the ability of the virus to infect its target cells.


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