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J Virol. 1996 Jun;70(6):3536-44.

Spontaneous mutations in the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 gag gene that affect viral replication in the presence of cyclosporins.

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  • 1Sandoz Forschungsinstitut, Vienna, Austria.


Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 mutants that are resistant to inhibition by cyclosporins arise spontaneously in vitro during propagation in a HeLa-CD4+ cell line in the presence of a nonimmunosuppressive analog of cyclosporin A. Interestingly, the phenotype of all of the mutants examined is drug resistant and drug dependent, with both cyclosporin A and its analog. Four independently isolated mutants have been analyzed genetically by construction of recombinant proviruses in the NL4-3 parental strain background and subsequent testing of the chimeric viruses in HeLa cells. The cyclosporin-resistant, cyclosporin-dependent phenotype consistently transfers with a 1.3-kb fragment of gag, within which the four mutants share one of two possible single amino acid exchanges in a proline-rich stretch in the capsid domain of Pr55gag. These mutants provide the first evidence that mutations in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 gag confer resistance to cyclosporins; however, replication is conditional on the presence of the drug. In the T-cell line CEM, replication of the recombinant mutant viruses is also cyclosporin dependent. The drug-dependent replication in HeLa cells is stringent, and in the absence of cyclosporin only revertant viruses with the parental phenotype grow out of cultures infected with cyclosporin-dependent virus. In at least one isolate examined, the revertant phenotype appears to be due to suppressor mutations near the proline-rich region.

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