Early phase dynamics of traceable mCherry fluorescent protein-carrying HIV-1 infection in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells-transplanted NOD/SCID/Jak3-/- mice

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We attempted to elucidate early-phase dynamics of HIV-1 infection using replication-competent, red-fluorescent-protein (mCherry)-labeled HIV-1JR-FL (HIVJR-FLmC) and NOD/SCID/Jak3-/- mice transplanted with Individual-A's human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (hPBMC)(hNOJ mice). On day 7 following HIVJR-FLmC inoculation, mCherry-signal-emitting infection foci were readily identified in the subserosa of 10 of 10 HIVJR-FLmC-inoculated hNOJ mice, although infection foci were not located without the mCherry signal in unlabeled HIV-1JR-FL-inoculated mice (n = 6). Even on day 14, infection foci were hardly located in the unlabeled HIV-1JR-FL-inoculated mice, while in all of 7 HIVJR-FLmC-inoculated hNOJ mice examined, mCherry-signal-emitting lymph nodes were easily identified, in which active viral replication was present. On day 14, a significantly larger number of mesenteric lymph nodes were seen in HIVJR-FLmC-exposed hNOJ mice than in HIVJR-FLmC-unexposed mice (P = 0.0025). The weights of mesenteric lymph nodes of those HIVJR-FLmC-exposed hNOJ mice were also greater than those of HIVJR-FLmC-unexposed mice (P = 0.0005). When hNOJ mice were inoculated with HIVJR-FLmC-exposed hPBMC from Individual-B, significantly greater viremia was seen than in cell-free HIVJR-FLmC-inoculated hNOJ mice as examined on day 7. In the lymph nodes of those mice inoculated with HIVJR-FLmC-exposed hPBMC from Individual-B, a substantial number of Individual-B's HIVJR-FLmC-infected cells were identified together with Individual-A's cells as examined on day 14. The present HIVJR-FLmC-infected mouse model represents the first system reported using traceable HIVJR-FLmC and human target cells, not using SIV or simian cells, which should be of utility in studies of early-phases of HIV-1 transmission and in evaluating the effects of potential agents for post-exposure and pre-exposure prophylaxis.HighlightsFirst-reported visualization of HIV foci using mCherry fluorescent protein to examine initial phases of HIV infection.First report that mCherry-labeled HIVJR-FL exposure produces greater numbers of and larger lymph nodes than when unexposed.Exposure of mCherry-labeled HIVJR-FL virions plus cell-associated virions cause more efficient and rapid HIV propagation.The present mCherry-labeled HIVJR-FL mouse model should be in utility in studies of HIV transmission and drug evaluation.

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