Variation of human immunodeficiency virus type-1 reverse transcriptase within the simian immunodeficiency virus genome of RT-SHIV

Debra A. Wadford, Robert C. Kauffman, Jesse D. Deere, Scott T. Aoki, Richard A. Stanton, Joanne Higgins, Koen K A Van Rompay, Andradi Villalobos, James H. Nettles, Raymond F. Schinazi, Niels C. Pedersen, Thomas W North

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RT-SHIV is a chimera of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) containing the reverse transcriptase (RT)-encoding region of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) within the backbone of SIVmac239. It has been used in a non-human primate model for studies of non-nucleoside RT inhibitors (NNRTI) and highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). We and others have identified several mutations that arise in the "foreign" HIV-1 RT of RT-SHIV during in vivo replication. In this study we catalogued amino acid substitutions in the HIV-1 RT and in regions of the SIV backbone with which RT interacts that emerged 30 weeks post-infection from seven RT-SHIV-infected rhesus macaques. The virus set points varied from relatively high virus load, moderate virus load, to undetectable virus load. The G196R substitution in RT was detected from 6 of 7 animals at week 4 post-infection and remained in virus from 4 of 6 animals at week 30. Virus from four high virus load animals showed several common mutations within RT, including L74V or V75L, G196R, L214F, and K275R. The foreign RT from high virus load isolates exhibited as much variation as that of the highly variable envelope surface glycoprotein, and 10-fold higher than that of the native RT of SIVmac239. Isolates from moderate virus load animals showed much less variation in the foreign RT than the high virus load isolates. No variation was found in SIVmac239 genes known to interact with RT. Our results demonstrate substantial adaptation of the foreign HIV-1 RT in RT-SHIV-infected macaques, which most likely reflects selective pressure upon the foreign RT to attain optimal activity within the context of the chimeric RT-SHIV and the rhesus macaque host.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere86997
JournalPLoS One
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 31 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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