Amplification of Replication Competent HIV-1 by Adoptive Transfer of Human Cells From Infected Humanized Mice

Hang Su, Sruthi Sravanam, Santhi Gorantla, Rafal Kaminski, Kamel Khalili, Larisa Poluektova, Howard E. Gendelman, Prasanta K. Dash

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Detection of latent human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) in “putative” infectious reservoirs is required for determining treatment efficiency and for viral elimination strategies. Such tests require induction of replication competent provirus and quantitative testing of viral load for validation. Recently, humanized mice were employed in the development of such tests by employing a murine viral outgrowth assay (mVOA). Here blood cells were recovered from virus infected antiretroviral therapy suppressed patients. These cells were adoptively transferred to uninfected humanized mice where replication competent virus was recovered. Prior reports supported the notion that an mVOA assay provides greater sensitivity than cell culture-based quantitative VOA tests for detection of latent virus. In the current study, the mVOA assays was adapted using donor human hematopoietic stem cells-reconstituted mice to affirm research into HIV-1 elimination. We simulated an antiretroviral therapy (ART)-treated virus-infected human by maintaining the infected humanized mice under suppressive treatment. This was operative prior to human cell adoptive transfers. Replication-competent HIV-1 was easily detected in recipient animals from donors with undetectable virus in plasma. Moreover, when the assay was used to investigate viral presence in tissue reservoirs, quantitative endpoints were determined in “putative” viral reservoirs not possible in human sample analyses. We conclude that adoptive transfer of cells between humanized mice is a sensitive and specific assay system for detection of replication competent latent HIV-1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number38
JournalFrontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology
StatePublished - Feb 11 2020


  • HIV-1 infection
  • adoptive transfers
  • humanized mice
  • lymphoid tissue
  • viral latency
  • viral outgrowth assays
  • viral reservoirs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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