Exploitation of the low fidelity of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) reverse transcriptase and the nucleotide composition bias in the HIV-1 genome to alter the drug resistance development of HIV.


The RNA genome of the lentivirus human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is significantly richer in adenine nucleotides than the statistically equal distribution of the four different nucleotides that is expected. This compositional bias may be due to the guanine-to-adenine (G-->A) nucleotide hypermutation of the HIV genome, which has been explained by dCTP pool imbalances during reverse transcription. The adenine nucleotide bias together with the poor fidelity of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase markedly enhances the genetic variation of HIV and may be responsible for the rapid emergence of drug-resistant HIV-1 strains. We have now attempted to counteract the normal mutational pattern of HIV-1 in response to anti-HIV-1 drugs by altering the endogenous deoxynucleoside triphosphate pool ratios with antimetabolites in virus-infected cell cultures. We showed that administration of these antimetabolic compounds resulted in an altered drug resistance pattern due to the reversal of the predominant mutational flow of HIV (G-->A) to an adenine-to-guanine (A-->G) nucleotide pattern in the intact HIV-1-infected lymphocyte cultures. Forcing the virus to change its inherent nucleotide bias may lead to better control of viral drug resistance development.




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