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Nat Med. 2001 May;7(5):631-4.

A quantitative assay for HIV DNA integration in vivo.

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Infectious Disease Laboratory, The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, California, USA.


Early steps of infection by HIV-1 involve entry of the viral core into cells, reverse transcription to form the linear viral DNA, and integration of that DNA into a chromosome of the host. The unintegrated DNA can also follow non-productive pathways, in which it is circularized by recombination between DNA long-terminal repeats (LTRs), circularized by ligation of the DNA ends or degraded. Here we report quantitative methods that monitor formation of reverse transcription products, two-LTR circles and integrated proviruses. The integration assay employs a novel quantitative form of Alu-PCR that should be generally applicable to studies of integrating viruses and gene transfer vectors.

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