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J Virol. 2010 Dec;84(24):12862-71. doi: 10.1128/JVI.01478-10. Epub 2010 Oct 13.

Fitness disadvantage of transitional intermediates contributes to dynamic change in the infecting-virus population during coreceptor switch in R5 simian/human immunodeficiency virus-infected macaques.

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Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center, 455 First Avenue, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10065, USA.


Fitness disadvantage of the transitional intermediates compared to the initial R5 viruses has been suggested to constitute one of the blockades to coreceptor switching, explaining the late appearance of X4 viruses. Using a simian model for human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) coreceptor switching, we demonstrate in this study that similar molecular evolutionary pathways to coreceptor switch occur in more than one R5 simian/human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV)(SF162P3N)-infected macaque. In infected animals where multiple pathways for expansion or switch to CXCR4 coexist, fitness of the transitional intermediates in coreceptor usage efficiency influences their outgrowth and representation in the infecting virus population. Dualtropic and X4 viruses appear at different disease stages, but they have lower entry efficiency than the coexisting R5 strains, which may explain why they do not outcompete the R5 viruses. Similar observations were made in two infected macaques with coreceptor switch, providing in vivo evidence that fitness disadvantage is an obstacle to X4 emergence and expansion.

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