Retroviruses require integration of their RNA genomes for both stability and productive viral replication. In HIV infection of non-dividing, resting CD4 T cells, where integration is greatly impeded, the reverse transcribed HIV DNA has limited biological activity and a short half-life. In metabolically active and proliferating T cells, unintegrated DNA rapidly diminishes with cell division. HIV also infects the non-dividing but metabolically active macrophage population. In an in vitro examination of HIV infection of macrophages, we find that unintegrated viral DNA not only has an unusual stability, but also maintains biological activity. The unintegrated linear DNA, 1-LTR, and 2-LTR circles are stable for at least 30 days. Additionally, there is persistent viral gene transcription, which is selective and skewed towards viral early genes such as nef and tat with highly diminished rev and vif. One viral early gene product Nef was measurably synthesized. We also find that independent of integration, the HIV infection process in macrophages leads to generation of numerous chemokines. © 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kelly, J., Beddall, M. H., Yu, D., Iyer, S. R., Marsh, J. W., & Wu, Y. (2008). Human macrophages support persistent transcription from unintegrated HIV-1 DNA. Virology, 372(2), 300–312. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.virol.2007.11.007