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J Med Virol. 2017 Jan;89(1):112-122. doi: 10.1002/jmv.24611. Epub 2016 Jul 4.

Different HIV-1 env frames: gp120 and ASP (antisense protein) biosynthesis, and theirs co-variation tropic amino acid signatures in X4- and R5-viruses.

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  • 1BioMolecular Lab, Barletta (BT), Italy.


Antisense protein (ASP) is the new actor of viral life of Human Immunodeficiency Virus type 1 (HIV-1) although proposed above 20 years ago. The asp ORF is into complementary strand of the gp120/gp41 junction of env gene. The ASP biological role remains little known. Knowing the Env markers of viral tropism, a dataset of sequences (660 strains) was used to analyze the hypothetical ASP involvement in CCR5 (R5) and/or CXCR4 (X4) co-receptor interaction. Preliminarily, prevalence of ASP and gp120V3 mutations was performed; following association among mutations were elaborate. The classical V3 tropic-signatures were confirmed, and 36 R5- and 22 X4-tropic ASP mutations were found. Moreover, by analyzing the ASP sequences, 36 out of 179 amino acid positions significantly associated with different co-receptor usage were found. Several statistically significant associations between gp120V3 and ASP mutations were observed. The dendrogram showed the existence of a cluster associated with R5-usage and a large cluster associated with X4-usage. These results show that gp120V3 and specific amino acid changes in ASP are associated together with CXCR4 and/or CCR5-usage. These findings implement previous observations on unclear ASP functions. J. Med. Virol. 89:112-122, 2017. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


chemokine; infection; mutation

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