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J Infect Dis. 2009 Oct 15;200(8):1202-6. doi: 10.1086/605894.

Signature nucleotide polymorphisms at positions 64 and 65 in reverse transcriptase favor the selection of the K65R resistance mutation in HIV-1 subtype C.

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McGill University AIDS Centre, Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research, Sir Mortimer B. Davis Jewish General Hospital, and Department of Medicine, McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada.


Recently, we described a novel nucleotide template-based mechanism that may be the basis for the facilitated acquisition of the K65R resistance mutation in subtype C versus subtype B human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). In this article, we evaluated the effects of subtype C-specific silent polymorphisms in cell culture drug-selection experiments using nucleoside and nucleotide reverse-transcriptase inhibitors. The K65R pathway was selected more frequently in a subtype B virus that contained subtype C nucleotide polymorphisms at both positions 64 and 65 than in a wild-type NL4-3 subtype B virus. This is the first demonstration of the significance of silent nucleotide polymorphisms in the development of drug resistance.

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