Variation in simian immunodeficiency virus env is confined to V1 and V4 during progression to simian AIDS.

Abstract:

We have monitored changes in the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) envelope (env) gene in two macaques which developed AIDS after inoculation with a molecular clone of SIV. As the animals progressed to AIDS, selection occurred for viruses with variation in two discrete regions (V1 and V4) but not for viruses with changes in the region of SIV env that corresponds to the immunodominant, V3 loop of human immunodeficiency virus. Within the highly variable domains, the vast majority of nucleotide changes encoded an amino acid change (98%), suggesting that these envelope variants had evolved as a result of phenotypic selection. Analysis of the biological properties of these variants, which have been selected for in the host, may be useful in defining the mechanisms underlying viral persistence and progression to simian AIDS.

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