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Published in JOURNAL OF VIROLOGY, June 1996, p. 3589–3598 Vol. 70, No. 6 0022-538X/96/$04.0010 Copyright © 1996, American Society for Microbiology. Used by permission.


Perinatal human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infections cause a broad spectrum of clinical disease and are variable in both the age of the patient at onset of serious disease and the progression of the clinical course. Heterozygotic perinatally infected twins with a marked difference in their clinical courses were monitored during the first 2 years of life. Twin B, the second-born twin, developed AIDS by 6 months of age and died at 22 months of age, while twin A remained minimally symptomatic through the first 2 years. Sequential blood specimens were obtained from the twins in order to characterize the immunologic properties of the children and the phenotypes and genotypes of the HIV-1 isolates at various times. Twin A developed neutralizing antibodies and a high-level antibody-mediated cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) response, while twin B had no neutralizing antibody and a much lower ADCC response. The virus isolates obtained from the two children at various time points proliferated equally well in peripheral blood mononuclear cells, were nonsyncytium inducing, and could not infect established T-cell lines. They differed in their ability to infect primary macrophages. In parallel to the biological studies, the HIV-1 tat and part of the env gene sequences of the longitudinal isolates at four time points were determined. Sequences of virus from both twins at different time points were highly conserved; the viruses evolved at a similar rate until the last analyzed time point, at which there was a dramatic increase in sequence diversity for the sicker child, especially in the tat gene. Our results show that the viruses isolated at different times do not have significant changes in growth properties. The absence or low levels of neutralizing antibodies may correlate with disease progression in the twins.

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