Herpesvirus saimiri strain C488 transforms human CD4+ T-lymphocytes to continuous interleukin-2-dependent growth. Unlike human T-cell lines derived from tumours or those transformed by human T-lymphotropic virus 1, herpesvirus saimiri-immortalized T-cells (HVS T-cells) retain many functions of primary activated T-lymphocytes. We have characterized the course of human immunodeficiency virus types 1 and 2 (HIV-1/-2) infection in three HVS T-cell lines. Our results confirm that HVS T-cells are highly permissive to both HIV-1/-2 prototype viruses and to poorly replicating HIV-2 strains of restricted cell tropism. However, the infection was persistently productive for up to 5 months. The down-regulation of surface CD4 molecules was delayed and virus yields significantly exceeded those obtained in T-cell lines.


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