Studies analysing human immunodeficiency virus type 1 replication in primary cells have demonstrated that Vpr, although dispensable, plays a role along with the matrix (MA) protein in allowing nuclear localization of viral preintegration complexes in non-dividing monocyte-derived macrophages (MDMs). In the current study, experimental infection conditions to analyse the role of Vpr, independently of MA, during infection of PHA/IL-2-stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) were designed. It was shown that the absence of Vpr results in a subtle effect on virus production in long-term infection. PCR analysis of the steps of virus retrotranscription during a single cycle of replication in stimulated PBMC revealed that the absence of Vpr alone correlates with an impairment in the nuclear localization of viral DNA. Our data indicate that Vpr is involved in the virus life-cycle during infection of dividing PBMC, presumably as it is during infection of MDMs.


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