Simian immunodeficiency virus mac251 infection of astrocytes

Gilles Guillemin*, Juliana Croitoru, Roger Le Grand, Martine Franck-Duchenne, Dominique Dormont, François D. Boussin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection of astrocytes has been demonstrated in the brains of patients with AIDS dementia complex (ADC) and may play an important role in neuropathological pathways of HIV-related encephalopathy. SIVmac-infected monkeys develop an acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) with CNS involvement which is quite similar to that seen in human AIDS. We investigated the in vitro infection of primary astrocytes derived from adult macaques with SIVmac251 or an isogenic virus that expresses a non-functional Nef protein (SIVmac251-ΔNef). In both cases we observed that viral expression was mostly limited to early regulatory genes after a transient phase of late viral gene expression (i.e. env and gag), as reported for HIV-1-infected astrocytes in vivo. Late viral gene expression could be reactivated by TNF-α, GM-CSF and IFN-γ treatment of SIVmac251-infected astrocytes but not by similarly treated SIVmac251-ΔNef-infected cells. Our findings suggest that Nef is not involved in the restricted expression of SIV in astrocytes, but may be important for astrocytes to function as a viral reservoir in the CNS. In additional experiments, we demonstrated Rev and Nef expression in 17 of 27 primary astrocyte cultures derived from macaques infected by SIVmac251. Nef was located in the cytoplasm of astrocytes infected by SIVmaca51 in vivo, but displayed perinuclear localisation after infection in vitro. Attempts to activate late viral gene expression by astrocytes infected in vivo using cytokines or by coculture with human cord blood mononuclear cells were unsuccessful.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-186
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of NeuroVirology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Macaques
  • Primary astrocytes
  • SIV mac


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