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J Virol. 2009 Feb;83(4):2029-33. doi: 10.1128/JVI.01349-08. Epub 2008 Dec 10.

Template usage is responsible for the preferential acquisition of the K65R reverse transcriptase mutation in subtype C variants of human immunodeficiency virus type 1.

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  • 1McGill University AIDS Center, McGill University, Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research, Sir Mortimer B. Davis Jewish General Hospital, Montréal, Canada.


We propose that a nucleotide template-based mechanism facilitates the acquisition of the K65R mutation in subtype C human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). Different patterns of DNA synthesis were observed using DNA templates from viruses of subtype B or C origin. When subtype C reverse transcriptase (RT) was employed to synthesize DNA from subtype C DNA templates, preferential pausing was seen at the nucleotide position responsible for the AAG-to-AGG K65R mutation. This did not occur when the subtype B RT and template were used. Template factors can therefore increase the probability of K65R development in subtype C HIV-1.

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