By the end of this year, the World Health Organization has estimated that approximately 0.7% of the world's population will be seropositive for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Most therapy is directed towards inhibition of viral reverse transcriptase or protease. Although over the last two decades much has been learned regarding the replicative cycle of HIV and the cellular factors involved, there are still gaps in our knowledge that could represent future therapeutic targets. For example, in the mouse entry and post-entry blocks to HIV replication have been circumvented by expressing human CD4, a chemokine co-receptor, and cyclin T1. These mouse cells, however, are still not fully permissive for HIV replication, likely due to additional blocks to viral replication. Mouse-human cell fusions produce infectious virus, suggesting that mouse cells lack one or more factors required for HIV replication. We have isolated several monochromosomal mouse-human hybrid cell lines that allow infectious virus release. These cell lines are not fully permissive in that there is a further increase in virus release after fusion with human cells. We now seek to further explore the nature of the replicative block in mouse cells. In the first aim we will employ the relatively permissive mouse-human cells to perform fusion experiments with a variety of rodent-human hybrid cell lines, including a panel of monochromosomal mouse-human cell lines, mouse-human microcell hybrid cell lines, and a set of well-characterized hamster-human radiation hybrid cell clones. We will also test specific candidate genes, especially those involved in Rev/RRE function. If additional chimeric cell clones are isolated that allow increased HIV production, these will be further characterized in terms of specificity and viral mRNA and protein production.
The second aim i s focused on chromosome engineering of the already isolated mouse-human hybrid cell lines that are permissive for HIV release and only have a single human chromosome. This will be accomplished first by transducing the cells with a retroviral vector that includes LoxP sites and the transposon Sleeping Beauty and identifying cell clones that have vector integrated into the human chromosome. Transient expression of the transposase should allow the transposon to `hop'to another location in cis, thus creating a panel of cell clones with the LoxP sites variably separated on the human chromosome. Interstitial chromosomal segments will be deleted by addition of Cre recombinase, and the resulting cell clones tested for HIV release. Once the chromosomal region of interest has been reduced to a reasonable interval, more conventional approaches will be used to identify factors allowing HIV release. At the completion of these studies it is hoped that a better understanding of the host requirements involved in HIV release will be achieved, with firmer footing towards a mouse model of HIV.Narrative Despite the progress made in understanding and treatment of HIV, there is still no small animal model for the virus. In mouse, there are multiple blocks to virus replication, which can be partially overcome by provision of host factors required for cell entry and transcription. Still little HIV is released from mouse cells. By genetic means we have isolated several mouse-human hybrid cell lines that release a reasonable amount of virus. These cell lines, which have only a single human chromosome, are not as permissive as human cells. The goals of this application are to i)further evaluate the isolated cell lines by cell fusions with a variety of other hybrid cell lines to identify other human chromosomes that might be involved in HIV release, and ii) to use a new method of chromosome engineering to identify the responsible genes in the relatively permissive cell lines. At the end of this study it is hoped that new human genes involved in the virus life cycle will be identified that may serve as drug targets and also help establish a small animal model of HIV.
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