Low levels of deoxynucleotides in peripheral blood lymphocytes: a strategy to inhibit human immunodeficiency virus type 1 replication.

Abstract:

Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) viral DNA synthesis in quiescent and activated peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBLs) was studied. Incomplete viral DNA (previously demonstrated to be associated with HIV-1 virions) is carried by HIV-1 virions into quiescent and activated PBLs, contributing to the formation of an early viral DNA pool in these cells. The viral DNA is subsequently completed but only extremely slowly and inefficiently in quiescent PBLs compared to that in stimulated PBLs. We find that this correlates with significantly lower levels of dNTP substrates in quiescent compared to activated PBLs. At these low dNTP concentrations, HIV-1 reverse transcriptase acts in a partially distributive manner. Increasing dNTP concentrations from the levels of quiescent PBLs to the levels of activated PBLs increases the processive action of reverse transcriptase, which in turn stimulates rapid and efficient formation of full-length DNA. Furthermore, hydroxyurea treatment of stimulated PBLs decreases the dNTP levels and the DNA synthesis rate to levels comparable to quiescent PBLs. Our data therefore indicate that low levels of dNTP may explain why HIV-1 DNA is synthesized slowly and inefficiently in quiescent PBLs and suggest that pharmacologic induction of low dNTP levels represents a therapeutic approach for inhibition of HIV-1 replication.

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