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Antivir Ther. 2005;10(2):363-6.

Rare one and two amino acid inserts adjacent to codon 103 of the HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT) affect susceptibility to non-nucleoside RT inhibitors.

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Center for AIDS Research, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA.


HIV-1 strains that possess a one or two amino acid insert between codons 102 and 103 of the reverse transcriptase (RT) gene were identified in three HIV-1-infected individuals. Each strain also had one or more known mutations associated with nucleoside RT inhibitors (NRTIs) and non-nucleoside RT inhibitors (NNRTIs). Recombinant viruses from these strains had reduced susceptibility to efavirenz and nevirapine, and homology modelling predicted a loss of binding contacts with efavirenz. Mutagenesis studies indicated that replication of insert-containing strains was dependent on RT gene mutations and polymorphisms that co-evolved with the insert. These results suggest that inserts in the NNRTI-binding pocket contribute to NNRTI resistance, but are tolerated only under specific genetic conditions.

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