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AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2008 Mar;24(3):437-45. doi: 10.1089/aid.2007.0234.

Genetic characterization of HIV type 1 long terminal repeat following vertical transmission.

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  • 1Department of Immunobiology, College of Medicine, The University of Arizona Health Sciences Center, Tucson, Arizona 85724, USA.


Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) long terminal repeat (LTR) sequences were characterized from six mother-infant pairs following vertical transmission. The LTR sequences exhibited a low degree of heterogeneity within mothers, within infants, and between epidemiologically linked mother-infant pairs. However, LTR sequences were more heterogeneous between epidemiologically unlinked individuals compared with linked mother-infant pairs. These data were further supported by low estimates of genetic diversity and clustering of each mother-infant pair's sequences into a separate subtree as well as the presence of common signature sequences between mother-infant pairs. The functional domains essential for LTR (promoter) function, including the promoter (TATAA), enhancers (three Sp-I and two NF-kappaB), the modulatory regions (two AP-I sites, two NFAT, one NF-IL6 site, one Ets-1, and one USF-1), and the TAR region were generally conserved among mother-infant pairs. Taken together, limited heterogeneity and conservation of functional domains in the LTR following vertical transmission support the notion that a functional LTR is critical in viral replication and pathogenesis in HIV-1-infected mothers and their infected infants.

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