Highly sensitive coculture methods were developed both for isolation of human T-lymphotropic virus types I and II (HTLV-1 and HTLV-II) from infected individuals and for productive infection of lymphoid cells. Mitogen-activated peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from 13 HTLV-I- and 20 HTLV-II-positive specimens were cocultured with an equal number of mitogen-activated PBMC from HTLV-seronegative individuals, and culture supernatants were tested for the presence of soluble p24gag antigens at weekly intervals for 4 weeks. Eleven of 13 (85%) HTLV-I and 14 of 20 (70%) HTLV-II cultures were positive for p24 antigens. None of the 17 HTLV-seroindeterminate or six HTLV-seronegative specimens were positive for the presence of p24 antigen. The isolation rates for HTLV-I and HTLV-II by an alternative whole-blood lysis procedure were comparable to those obtained by standard PBMC cultures. Furthermore, cocultivation of PHA-stimulated PBMC from healthy donors with lethally irradiated HTLV-I- and HTLV-II-infected cell lines (SP and Mo-T, respectively) resulted in productive viral infection, as reflected by the appearance of p24gag antigens concomitant with specific genomic amplification of HTLV proviral DNA after 3 weeks of cocultivation. Thus, the cocultivation technique provides a highly sensitive and specific procedure both for HTLV isolation and for infection of target cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology