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Heterogeneous Spectrum of Coreceptor Usage among Variants within a Dualtropic Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Primary-Isolate Quasispecies

  • Anjali Singh
  • Ronald G. Collman
American Society for Microbiology
Publication Date
Nov 01, 2000
  • Biology
  • Medicine


Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) variants that use the coreceptor CCR5 for entry (R5; macrophage tropic) predominate in early infection, while variants that use CXCR4 emerge during disease progression. Some late-stage variants use CXCR4 alone (X4; T-cell tropic), while others use both CXCR4 and CCR5 (R5X4; dualtropic). It has been proposed that dualtropic R5X4 strains are intermediates in the evolution from R5 to X4, and we hypothesized that a dualtropic primary-isolate quasispecies might contain variants that represent the spectrum of coreceptor use in vivo. We generated a panel of 35 functional full-length env clones from the primary-isolate quasispecies of a dualtropic prototype strain, HIV-1 89.6PI. Thirty of the functional env clones (86%) were R5X4, four (11%) were R5, and one (3%) was predominantly X4. V3 to V5 sequences did not reveal clustering by coreceptor usage, and no specific sequence motif or V3 charge pattern corresponded to coreceptor utilization. Complete sequencing of seven functionally divergent Env proteins revealed ≥98.7% homology and conservation of structurally important domains. Chimeras between the R5X4 89.6 prototype and an R5 variant indicated that multiple regions contributed to the use of CXCR4, while chimeras with the X4 variant implicated a single residue in V4 in CCR5 use. These results confirm, at the molecular level, both that dualtropic variants are a predominant component of late-stage syncytium-inducing isolates and that variants restricted to each coreceptor coexist with dualtropic species in vivo. Coreceptor-restricted minority variants may reflect residual R5 species from earlier in disease as well as emerging X4 variants.

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