Theses Doctoral

The Intracellular Kinetics of HIV-1 Replication

Holmes, Mowgli

The rate of HIV-1 replication has an impact on the viral loads patients have and the time it takes for an infection to progress to AIDS. This replication rate is defined partly by the time it takes an infected cell to begin producing new infectious virus, and this, in turn, is defined by the time required for each step of the viral life cycle inside cells. Many of the stages of the HIV-1 life cycle have been well-characterized mechanistically, but the timing with which they occur has not. HIV-1 is under strong pressure to replicate rapidly, yet evidence indicates that there are stages at which there is active viral auto-inhibition of the rate of replication. We therefore sought to characterize the timing of each major stage of the viral life cycle and to determine how they are correlated with one another. Using a variety of techniques including quantitative microscopy we tracked the timing of these events, both in bulk infected cultures and in single infected cells, and generated a time line of the HIV-1 replication cycle. We find that there is a delay of about 11 hours between integration and gene expression, whereas early and late gene expression are separated by only about 3 hours. In addition we find that a critical event prior to assembly, the virus-directed removal of the host restriction factor APOBEC3G, takes place within 2.5 hours following late gene expression. One of the major processes HIV-1 must complete before it can produce new virions is the clearance of antiviral restriction factors that can block the production of new infectious virus. We present evidence in support of the hypothesis that the assembly and release of virions, which is inhibited by the presence of the MA domain of the Gag protein, is delayed precisely in order to allow restriction factor clearance to reach completion before the assembly process begins.



More About This Work

Academic Units
Microbiology, Immunology, and Infection
Thesis Advisors
Silverstein, Saul
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
March 1, 2013