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J Med Virol. 2002 Jan;66(1):102-6.

Defective human T-cell leukaemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) genomes: no evidence in serologically indeterminate german blood donors but new type detected in established cell lines.

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Institute of Carcinogenesis, Cancer Research Centre RAMS, Moscow, Russia.


Individuals reactive in antibody screening tests (ELISA) and with one or more reactions to HTLV-1 proteins on Western blotting, but lacking the criteria of a confirmed HTLV infection, are not exceptional in regions with a low prevalence of HTLV-1/-2 infections. PCR analysis of these indeterminate samples, using "diagnostic" pol and tax sets of primers, give negative results. However, expression of HTLV-1 defective proviruses with internal deletions undetectable by PCR with diagnostic primers could have taken place. Seven German HTLV-1 ELISA-reactive blood donors, who showed reactivity also in Western blots against several viral proteins, and twenty haemophiliacs, were examined by nested PCR and/or PCR/Southern hybridisation with primers designed for detection of HTLV-1 defective proviruses. No HTLV-1-specific amplification products were obtained. However, HTLV-1 defective proviruses with large internal deletions were detected in four out of five cell lines established from symptomatic HTLV-1 cases and two in HUT-102 cells. In two amplicons, short inverted rRNA sequences between gag and env fragments of HTLV-1 defective proviruses were revealed. These results do not exclude the presence of defective HTLV-1 proviruses in individuals with indeterminate serology although this is unlikely.

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