The role of the feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) vif gene in establishing productive infection in feline peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and monocyte-derived macrophages (MDMs) was examined in cell culture systems. A 375-bp deletion was introduced into the vif gene of the wild-type FIV-pPPR infectious molecular clone to produce Vif deletion mutant FIV-pPPRΔvif. This mutant FIV proviral construct expressed FIV proteins p24gag and gp100env in transfected Crandell feline kidney cells as measured by immunoprecipitation and Western blot analysis as well as immunocytochemical analysis; these cultures produced very low levels of virus by cocultivation of transfected cells with PBMCs and K-258 cells, as measured by production of p24gag. Replication kinetics of wild-type and vif-deleted virus were compared in PBMCs and monocyte-derived macrophages (MDMs) by infection with cell-free virus preparations. Similar to findings with other lentiviruses, the vif gene was found to be essential for establishment of productive FIV infection in both PBMCs and MDMs. This study indicates that vif is essential for productive FIV infection of host target cells in vitro and that FIV-pPPRΔvif may be an excellent candidate viral mutant for attenuated virus vaccine studies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases