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Virology. 2003 Aug 1;312(2):470-80.

Convergent evolution of SIV env after independent inoculation of rhesus macaques with infectious proviral DNA.

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Department of Cancer Immunology and AIDS, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, 44 Binney Street, JFB-809, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


The env gene of three simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) variants developed convergent mutations during disease progression in six rhesus macaques. The monkeys had been inoculated with supercoiled plasmids encoding infectious proviruses of SIVmac239 (a pathogenic, wild-type strain), SIVdelta3 (the live attenuated vaccine strain derived from SIVmac239), or SIVdelta3+ (a pathogenic progeny virus that had evolved from SIVdelta3). All six monkeys developed immunodeficiency and progressed to fatal disease. Although many divergent mutations arose in env among the different hosts, three regions consistently mutated in all monkeys studied; these similar mutations developed independently even though the animals had received only a single infectious molecular clone rather than standard viral inocula that contain viral quasispecies. Together, these data indicate that the env genes of SIVmac239, SIVdelta3, and SIVdelta3+, in the context of different proviral backbones, evolve similarly in different hosts during disease progression.

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