Kinetics of Infected Cell Appearance as a Determinant of Number of Human Immunodeficiency Virus-1 Infectious Units

Joan M. Cory, Molly D. Smithgall, Fred Rapp, Betsy M. Ohlsson-Wilhelm, Betsy M. Ohlsson-Wilhelm, M. Elizabeth Steck, Vicky Rozday, M. Elaine Eyster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


In order to optimize detection of human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1)–infected cells, the temporal appearance of virus antigens in newly infected H9 cell cultures was examined. Analyses were accomplished by indirect immunofluorescence labeling with each of 10 monoclonal antibodies and evaluation by flow cytometry. Of the antibodies examined, those specific for HIV-1 capsid protein p24, matrix protein p17, or their precursor molecule p55 allowed the earliest and most sensitive detection in infected cells fixed to allow detection of intracellular antigen. Discrimination of infected cells from uninfected cells was much less sensitive when three antibodies specific for HIV-1 glycoproteins were used to detect intracellular or cell surface antigen. In several experiments involving the time course of infection, we observed no differences in cell numbers between infected and uninfected H9 cultures initiated at identical cell concentrations. We hypothesized that it might be possible to quantitate infectious HIV-1 virions from the kinetics of infected cell appearance. Straightline relationships between the log p24-positive cells and the time after infection were observed. These quantitative observations were employed to calculate the number of infectious units originally added to the culture that were capable of infecting H9 cells. The production of infectious virus, but not of cytopathic effects, was required. The results of this novel approach to the titration of infectious HIV-1 particles agreed well with those from median cell culture infective dose determination. This method could be employed with other infectious agents for which detection of cell-associated antigens is possible in cell cultures not destroyed by infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-106
Number of pages10
JournalAIDS Research and Human Retroviruses
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1989

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology
  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases


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