The beta-chemokines RANTES, MIP-1 alpha, and MIP-1 beta have potent suppressive effects on HIV-1 infection resulting from an early postbinding block in virus fusion and entry. Inhibition was observed only with monocytotropic isolates and mapped to the V3 region of the HIV-1 envelope. RANTES did not inhibit virus expression in chronically infected cells or reduce initial virus attachment to the cell membrane. Inhibitory activity required RANTES binding to the target cell but not G protein-mediated signaling or protein tyrosine kinase activity. The results are consistent with a reversible competitive mechanism of virus inhibition that prevents a V3-associated postbinding step in membrane fusion. The data support a role for a RANTES chemokine receptor as a coreceptor for monocytotropic-HIV-1.

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