Micron (Oxford, England : 1993)

The life-cycle of human immunodeficiency virus type 1.

PMID 9684349


The life-cycle of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) has been studied using several techniques including immunoelectron microscopy and cryomicroscopy. The HIV-1 particle consists of an envelope, a core and the region between the core and the envelope (matrix). Virus particles in the extracellular space are observed as having various profiles: a central or an eccentric round electron-dense core, a bar-shaped electron-dense core, and immature doughnut-shaped particle. HIV-1 particles in the hydrated state were observed by high-resolution electron cryomicroscopy to be spherical and the lipid membrane was clearly resolved as a bilayer. Projections around the circumference were seen to be knob-like. The shapes and sizes of the projections, especially the head parts, were found to vary with each projection. HIV-1 cores were isolated with a mixture of Nonidet P40 and glutaraldehyde, and were confirmed to consist of HIV-1 Gag p24 protein by immunogold labelling. On infection, the HIV-1 virus was found to enter the cell in two ways: membrane fusion and endocytosis. After viral entry, no structures resembling virus particles could be seen in the cytoplasm. In the infected cells, positive reactions by immunolabelling suggest that HIV-1 Gag is produced in membrane-bound structures and transported to the cell surface by the cytoskeletons. A crescent electron-dense layer is then formed underneath the cell membrane. Finally, the virus particle is released from the cell surface and found extracellularly to be a complete virus particle with an electron-dense core. However, several cell clones producing defective mature, doughnut-shaped (immature) or teardrop-shaped particles were found to be produced in the extracellular space. In the doughnut-shaped particles, Gag p17 and p24 proteins exist facing each other against an inner electron-dense ring, suggesting that the inner ring consists of a precursor Gag protein showing a defect at the viral proteinase.