HIV type 1 chemokine receptor usage in mother-to-child transmission

F. Salvatori, G. Scarlatti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To investigate the role of the HIV-1 phenotype in mother-to-child HIV-1 transmission, we evaluated coreceptor usage and replication kinetics in chemokine receptor-expressing U87MG.CD4 cells of primary isolates from 32 HIV-1-infected mothers of Italian origin, none under preventive antiretroviral therapy, and from their infected infants. Five of 15 mothers of infected children and 2 of 17 mothers of uninfected children harbored viruses able to use CXCR4 as coreceptor. However, all isolates used CCR5, alone or in association with CXCR4. The replicative capacity in coreceptor-expressing cells of the viral isolates did not differ between the two groups of mothers. All mothers with an R5 virus transmitted a virus with the same coreceptor usage, whereas those four with a multitropic virus transmitted such a virus in one case. Although the presence of a mixed viral population was documented in the mothers, we did not observe transmission solely of X4 viruses. Interestingly, the only child infected with a multitropic virus carried a defective CCR5 allele. Analysis of the env V3 region of the provirus from this child revealed infection with multiple viral variants with a predominance of R5-type over X4-type sequences. These findings show that CCR5 usage of a viral isolate is not a discriminating risk factor for vertical transmission. Furthermore, X4 viruses can be transmitted to the newborn, although less frequently. In particular, we document the transmission of multiple viral variants with different coreceptor usage in a Δ32 CCR5 heterozygous child, and demonstrate that the heterozygous genotype per se does not contribute to the restriction of R5-type virus spread.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)925-935
Number of pages11
JournalAIDS Research and Human Retroviruses
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Virology


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