Clinical correlates and molecular basis of HIV drug resistance.


It has been widely reported that zidovudine (ZDV)-resistant variants ...
It has been widely reported that zidovudine (ZDV)-resistant variants of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) can be isolated from patients undergoing prolonged therapy with this drug. At the same time, treatment of HIV-infected individuals with ZDV and other forms of nucleotide therapy, including didanosine (ddI), have enabled patients to live longer than would otherwise be the case and to enjoy improved quality of life. HIV resistance to ZDV, ddI, and other nucleosides is attributable to a series of point mutations within the pol gene of HIV-1 that encodes the viral enzyme, reverse transcriptase (RT). This is not surprising as the virus is known to replicate at high rates in infected individuals; moreover the RT that mediates transcription of proviral DNA from viral genomic RNA is known to be highly error prone. Thus, mutants of HIV-1, which possess a drug-resistance phenotype and genotype, may be expected to emerge under the selective pressure of long-term antiviral chemotherapy. This article describes a novel mutation at site 184 within the pol gene that accounts for resistance against both ddI and zalcitibine (ddC). HIV drug resistance occurs most commonly in individuals with low CD4 cell counts who have progressed to more serious forms of disease. Moreover, viruses obtained from patients with AIDS generally display higher levels of resistance, relative to pretreatment isolates, than do viruses from patients with more-limited illness. Although observations of drug resistance can be correlated with disease progression and a weakened immune system, it is still unclear whether a cause-and-effect relationship exists. Because of the error-prone nature of viral RT and the fact that the HIV-1 genome can mutate efficiently, it can be anticipated that viral drug resistance may emerge for all forms of nucleotide therapy to be offered in the future. In addition, resistance may also become apparent with regard to drugs that block HIV replication by acting at sites within the viral replication cycle other than RT.




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