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J Infect Dis. 1995 Nov;172(5):1384-7.

Primary structure of the V3 region of gp120 from sequential human immunodeficiency virus type 1 isolates obtained from patients from the time of seroconversion.

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  • 1Department of Biotechnology, University of New South Wales, Australia.


V3 loop sequences were compared from 5 human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-infected patients over time. Three patients remained asymptomatic and 2 became symptomatic with large decrease in CD4 cell counts. The patient isolates were previously evaluated for phenotypic and antigenic properties and had different sensitivities to serum neutralization and changes in phenotype. This study showed a number of amino acid changes for the 2 symptomatic patients, each of whom progressed to AIDS during the study. The only amino acid substitution consistently associated with reduced CD4 cell counts, cytopathic effect, and progression to AIDS was Arg at position 11. Specific amino acid changes could not be correlated with increasing serum neutralization resistance or cytotropism changes. Increased loop charge was associated with a switch from macrophage to T cell tropism and a decrease in the number of CD4 cells. The study shows the importance of naturally occurring mutations in the V3 loop in controlling the biologic properties of HIV-1.

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