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Virology. 1994 Dec;205(2):470-8.

2-LTR circular viral DNA as a marker for human immunodeficiency virus type 1 infection in vivo.

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Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Wisconsin, Madison 53706.


The unintegrated viral DNA found in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 infection includes linear and circular forms. We targeted the circular form containing two copies of the viral long terminal repeat (2-LTR circle) and developed specific assays to detect this molecule in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from HIV-infected patients. In vitro HIV-1 infection of peripheral blood mononuclear cells showed rapid accumulation and rapid decay of 2-LTR circular viral DNA. Examination of 2-LTR circular viral DNA levels provides a view of spreading infection based on a viral DNA form that is structurally distinct and has a known, short half-life in infected cells. In patients not receiving antiviral therapy, the levels of 2-LTR circular viral DNA and total viral DNA were significantly correlated to CD4 cell counts. Similar correlations were not observed in patients receiving zidovudine (AZT), didanosine (ddA), or zalcitabine (ddC).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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