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Virology. 2004 Jul 1;324(2):577-86.

Differential virus evolution in blood and genital tract of HIV-infected females: evidence for the involvement of drug and non-drug resistance-associated mutations.

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  • 1Laboratory of Viral Immunology, Ponce School of Medicine, Ponce 00732, Puerto Rico.


There is increasing evidence that male or female genital tract represent a distinct replication compartment for human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and that such compartments may serve as a virus reservoir. Forty-four paired plasma and vaginal samples from HIV-infected females undergoing HAART were collected to examine the viral responses to antiretroviral therapy and to assess the possible role of the vaginal tract as a reservoir for drug-resistant variants. Twenty-one females had detectable viral RNA both in plasma and vaginal fluid, whereas 14 females had detectable virus only in plasma. Twelve paired samples were used to analyze HIV-1 pol sequences for the presence of drug resistance-associated mutations. Nine of the twelve paired samples exhibited discordant drug resistance mutation patterns. The other three females showed identical drug resistance-associated mutations. However, further examination of protease and RT showed numerous non-drug-associated mutations that corresponded to predefined CTL epitopes. These non-drug-associated mutations were different between plasma and vaginal viruses, suggesting that evolution of HIV-1 was independent in these two compartments.

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