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AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2012 Dec;28(12):1584-93. doi: 10.1089/AID.2011.0319. Epub 2012 Jun 25.

Sensitivity changes over the course of infection increases the likelihood of resistance against fusion but not CCR5 receptor blockers.

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Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA 02139, USA.


As HIV-1 evolves over the course of infection, resistance against antiretrovirals may arise in the absence of drug pressure, especially against receptor and fusion blockers because of the extensive changes observed in the envelope glycoprotein. Here we show that viruses from the chronic phase of disease are significantly less sensitive to CCR5 receptor and fusion blockers compared to early infection variants. Differences in susceptibility to CCR5 antagonists were observed in spite of no demonstrable CXCR4 receptor utilization. No significant sensitivity differences were observed to another entry blocker, soluble CD4, or to reverse transcriptase, protease, or integrase inhibitors. Chronic as compared to early phase variants demonstrated greater replication when passaged in the presence of subinhibitory concentrations of fusion but not CCR5 receptor inhibitors. Fusion antagonist resistance, however, emerged from only one chronic phase virus culture. Because sensitivity to receptor and fusion antagonists is correlated with receptor affinity and fusion capacity, respectively, changes that occur in the envelope glycoprotein over the course of infection confer greater ability to use the CCR5 receptor and increased fusion ability. Our in vitro passage studies suggest that these evolving phenotypes increase the likelihood of resistance against fusion but not CCR5 receptor blockers.

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