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AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2014 Mar;30(3):284-8. doi: 10.1089/AID.2013.0229. Epub 2013 Nov 13.

Evolution of an attenuated HIV-1 isolate in an elite suppressor.

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1 Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine , Baltimore, Maryland.


Elite controllers or suppressors (ES) control viral replication without antiretroviral therapy. While many ES are infected with replication-competent virus, others have evidence of infection with attenuated isolates. Here we report a case of an ES infected with an HIV-1 isolate that contained a 38-base pair deletion in nef that led to a reading frame shift and a premature stop codon. Interestingly, clones amplified from plasma or cultured from CD4(+) T cells between 2006 and 2008 contained one of two separate compensatory deletions that restored the reading frame. A new insertion generated by duplication of adjacent sequences was found in isolates obtained in 2010 and this evolution was accompanied by the development of low level viremia. This article provides evidence of the evolution of an attenuated HIV-1 isolate toward greater virulence in an elite suppressor.

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