Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) causes fatal disease in domestic cats via T cell depletion-mediated immunodeficiency. Pumas and lions are hosts for apparently apathogenic lentiviruses (PLV, LLV) distinct from FIV. We compared receptor use among these viruses by: (1) evaluating target cell susceptibility; (2) measuring viral replication following exposure to specific and non-specific receptor antagonists; and (3) comparing Env sequence and structural motifs. Most isolates of LLV and PLV productively infected domestic feline T cells, but differed from domestic cat FIV by infecting cells independent of CXCR4, demonstrating equivalent or enhanced replication following heparin exposure, and demonstrating substantial divergence in amino acid sequence and secondary structure in Env receptor binding domains. PLV infection was, however, inhibited by CD134/OX40 antibody. Thus, although PLV and LLV infection interfere with FIV superinfection, we conclude that LLV and PLV utilize novel, more promiscuous mechanisms for cell entry than FIV, underlying divergent tropism and biological properties of these viruses.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes