The HIV-1 epidemic in South America is dominated by pure subtypes (mostly B and C) and more than 7 BF and BC recombinant forms. In Argentina, circulating recombinant forms (CRFs) comprised of subtypes B and F make up more than 50% of HIV infections. For this study, 28 HIV-1 primary isolates were obtained from patients in Buenos Aires, Argentina and initially classified into subtype B (n?=?9, 32.1%), C (n?=?1, 3.6%), and CRFs (n?=?18, 64.3%) using partial pol and vpu-env sequences, which proved to be inconsistent and inaccurate for these phylogenetic analyses. Near full length genome sequences of these primary HIV-1 isolates revealed that nearly all intersubtype BF recombination sites were unique and countered previous "CRF" B/F classifications. The majority of these Argentinean HIV-1 isolates were CCR5-using but 4 had a dual/mixed tropism as predicted by both phenotypic and genotypic assays. Comparison of the replicative fitness of these BF primary HIV-1 isolates to circulating B, F, and C HIV-1 using pairwise competitions in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) indicated a similarity in fitness of these BF recombinants to subtypes B and F HIV-1 (of the same co-receptor usage) whereas subtype C HIV-1 was significantly less fit than all as previously reported. These results suggest that the multitude of BF HIV-1 strains present within the Argentinean population do not appear to have gained replicative fitness following recent B and F recombination events.
Interactions of AMPs with plasma membranes of primary human immune cells are poorly characterized. Analysis of PI exclusion as a measure of membrane integrity indicated that hBD-3 caused membrane perturbations in monocytes but not T or B cells at concentrations typically used to kill bacteria or to induce activation of APCs. Bleb-like structures were observed in monocytes exposed to hBD-3. These cells also increased surface expression of LAMP1, a membrane repair marker after exposure to hBD-3. Furthermore, cell death was enhanced by adding an inhibitor of membrane repair. Removal of cholesterol from membranes resulted in greater susceptibility of cells to hBD-3, but cholesterol content was not different between the cell types, as assessed by filipin staining. Freshly isolated monocytes expressed higher levels of the negatively charged phospholipid, PS, on their outer leaflet compared with B or T cells. Preincubation of monocytes with molecules that bind PS protected these cells from hBD-3-induced membrane damage, suggesting that outer-membrane PS expression can at least partially explain monocyte susceptibility to hBD-3. The potential for membrane disruption caused by AMPs should be evaluated in various cell types when considering these molecules for therapeutic applications in humans.
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