A role for natural simian immunodeficiency virus and human immunodeficiency virus type 1 nef alleles in lymphocyte activation

Louis Alexander, Zhenjian Du, Michael Rosenzweig, Jae U. Jung, Ronald C. Desrosiers

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163 Scopus citations


A T-lymphoid cell line termed 221 was derived from a rhesus monkey infected with herpesvirus saimiri. Growth of 221 cells was dependent on the addition of interleukin-2 (IL-2) to the culture medium. In the absence of IL- 2, 221 cells arrested in G0-G1 but did not die. Simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) replicated efficiently in IL-2-stimulated 221 cells whether or not the nef gene was present. In the absence of IL-2, nef-containing SIV replicated 8 to 100 times more efficiently in 221 cells than did the same virus lacking nef. nef-containing virus preferentially stimulated the production of IL-2 from 221 cells. HIV-1 nef and v-ras genes, but not the c- ras gene, were shown to substitute functionally for SIV nef when tested as recombinant viruses in this assay system. These results demonstrate a role for natural nef in causing lymphoid cell activation, and they provide a system for delineating the biochemical mechanisms responsible for this activation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6094-6099
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 1997


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology

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