The page below is a sample from the LabCE course HIV: Structure, Replication, and Detection. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Destruction of the Host Cell

The mechanism of host cell destruction remains under investigation, but three possibilities have been proposed:

  1. Viral budding tears a hole in the host cell's membrane, causing cytoplasmic leakage.
  2. The supply of useful T-lymphocytes is depleted. Dendritic (immune) cells fuse with CD4 cells (syncytia formation) and release large amounts of virus.
  3. Some mechanisms cause the provirus to provoke the synthesis of a large number of new HIV particles, causing the rapid depletion of cellular components and with it, the destruction of the cell.