HIV-Induced T Cell Syncytia Are Self-Perpetuating and the Primary Cause of T Cell Death in Culture

Andrew Sylwester, Seamus Murphy, Damon Shutt, David R. Soll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Prior studies suggested that induced fusion in T cell cultures infected with syncytium-inducing HIV was not the primary cause of T cell death. However, these studies failed to assess the contribution of fusion in terms of syncytium volume, rather than syncytium frequency. This question has been reassessed by monitoring the frequency, volume, rate of growth, longevity, p24 production, viral budding, and self-propagating ability of syncytia in HIV-infected SUP-T1 cell cultures and individually isolated syncytia seeded in uninfected SUP-T1 cell cultures. The results demonstrate that in these cultures syncytium formation is the principal mechanism of T cell death, syncytia are the main source of virus production, and both virus production and syncytium longevity are independent of syncytium size, but dependent on syncytium age, suggesting that both are programmed events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3996-4007
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 15 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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