Dissemination of HIV-1 throughout lymphoid tissues leads to systemic virus spread following infection. We combined tissue clearing, 3D-immunofluorescence, and electron tomography (ET) to longitudinally assess early HIV-1 spread in lymphoid tissues in humanized mice. Immunofluorescence revealed peak infection density in gut at 10–12 days post-infection when blood viral loads were low. Human CD4+ T-cells and HIV-1–infected cells localized predominantly to crypts and the lower third of intestinal villi. Free virions and infected cells were not readily detectable by ET at 5-days post-infection, whereas HIV-1–infected cells surrounded by pools of free virions were present in ~10% of intestinal crypts by 10–12 days. ET of spleen revealed thousands of virions released by individual cells and discreet cytoplasmic densities near sites of prolific virus production. These studies highlight the importance of multiscale imaging of HIV-1–infected tissues and are adaptable to other animal models and human patient samples.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)