Mullins Molecular Retrovirology Lab

  • Department of Microbiology
  • School of Medicine
  • University of Washington
University of Washington/Fred Hutch Center for AIDS Research

Citation Information

Malaspina A, Moir S, Nickle DC, Donoghue ET, Ogwaro KM, Ehler LA, Liu S, Mican JA, Dybul M, Chun TW, Mullins JI, Fauci AS (2002). Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 bound to B cells: relationship to virus replicating in CD4+ T cells and circulating in plasma. Journal of virology, 76(17), 8855-63. (pubmed)


Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) virions bind to B cells in the peripheral blood and lymph nodes through interactions between CD21 on B cells and complement-complexed virions. B-cell-bound virions have been shown to be highly infectious, suggesting a unique mode of HIV-1 dissemination by B cells circulating between peripheral blood and lymphoid tissues. In order to investigate the relationship between B-cell-bound HIV-1 and viruses found in CD4+ T cells and in plasma, we examined the genetic relationships of HIV-1 found in the blood and lymph nodes of chronically infected patients with heteroduplex mobility and tracking assays and DNA sequence analysis. In samples from 13 of 15 patients examined, HIV-1 variants in peripheral blood-derived B cells were closely related to virus in CD4+ T cells and more divergent from virus in plasma. In samples from five chronically viremic patients for whom analyses were extended to include lymph node-derived HIV-1 isolates, B-cell-associated HIV-1 and CD4+-T-cell-associated HIV-1 in the lymph nodes were equivalent in their divergence from virus in peripheral blood-derived B cells and generally more distantly related to virus in peripheral blood-derived CD4+ T cells. These results indicates virologic cross talk between B cells and CD4+ T cells within the microenvironment of lymphoid tissues and, to a lesser extent, between cells in lymph nodes and the peripheral blood. These findings also indicate that most of the virus in plasma originates from cells other than CD4(+) T cells in the peripheral blood and lymph nodes.