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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Jul 5;108(27):11199-204. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1107729108. Epub 2011 Jun 20.

Majority of CD4+ T cells from peripheral blood of HIV-1-infected individuals contain only one HIV DNA molecule.

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  • 1Department of Diagnostics and Vaccinology, Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control, 171 82, Solna, Sweden.


Neither the number of HIV-1 proviruses within individual infected cells in HIV-1-infected patients nor their genetic relatedness within individual infected cells and between cells and plasma virus are well defined. To address these issues we developed a technique to quantify and genetically characterize HIV-1 DNA from single infected cells in vivo. Analysis of peripheral blood CD4(+) T cells from nine patients revealed that the majority of infected cells contain only one copy of HIV-1 DNA, implying a limited potential for recombination in virus produced by these cells. The genetic similarity between HIV populations in CD4(+) T cells and plasma implies ongoing exchange between these compartments both early and late after infection.

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