Natural variants of the HIV-1 long terminal repeat: analysis of promoters with duplicated DNA regulatory motifs

S. E. Koken, J. L. van Wamel, J. Goudsmit, B. Berkhout, J. L. Geelen

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/Letter to the editorAcademic


Sequence variation in the long terminal repeat (LTR) region of HIV-1 was analyzed in viral isolates of 17 infected individuals. Two classes of LTR size variants were found. One HIV-1 variant was detected containing an additional binding site for the transcription factor Sp1. Another LTR size variation was observed in four patients in a region just upstream of the NF-kappa B enhancer. This variation was the result of a duplication of a short DNA sequence (CTG-motif). Cell culture experiments demonstrated that the natural variant with four Sp1 sites had a slightly higher promoter activity and viral replication rate than the isogenic control LTR with three Sp1 sites. No positive effect of the duplicated CTG-motif could be detected. In order to measure small differences in virus production more accurately, equal amounts of a size variant and the wild-type plasmid were cotransfected into T-cells. The virus with four Sp1 sites did outgrow the three Sp1 virus in 35 days of culture and CTG-monomer virus outcompeted the CTG-dimer virus in 42 days. Based on these results we estimate a 5-10% difference in virus production of the LTR variants when compared to that of wild-type
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)968-972
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1992

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