The ability of cells infected with a retrovirus to interfere with superinfection by another retrovirus usually involves blockage, by the primary virus, of the receptors for the superinfecting virus. Retroviruses using different receptors do not interfere with each other, and this property has been used to classify various types of retroviruses. Different isolates of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) were subjected to this type of analysis, and it was found that all HIV-1 s cross-interfere with each other in T cells as well as in U937 promonocytic cells, substantiating further that all isolates use the same receptor on these cells. An HIV-2 isolate was found to interfere with HIV-1 s, but HIV-1 s only partially interfered with HIV-2 superinfection, indicating that inherent differences in receptor interactions exist between HIV-1s and HIV-2. For comparison, interference patterns of D-type primate retroviruses (SRVs) and murine amphotropic and xenotropic retroviruses revealed that each virus fell within distinct interference groups demonstrating that human T cells possess at least four distinct receptors for retroviruses. The mechanism of HIV interference was found to be due to receptor blockage in productively infected cells and to receptor elimination in latently infected T cells. Our findings that all HIV-1s completely interfere with each other and that interference occurs rapidly following acute infection suggests that a cell infected with HIV-1 will not permit reinfection by progeny or by other exogenous HIVs. This, in turn, suggests that progeny reinfection may not be the source of the large amount of unintegrated viral DNA observed following HIV cytopathic infection.
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