Mutations in HIV-1 reverse transcriptase affect the errors made in a single cycle of viral replication

Michael E. Abram, Andrea L. Ferris, Kalyan Das, Octavio Quinoñes, Wei Shao, Steven Tuske, W. Gregory Alvord, Eddy Arnold, Stephen H. Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


The genetic variation in HIV-1 in patients is due to the high rate of viral replication, the high viral load, and the errors made during viral replication. Some of the mutations in reverse transcriptase (RT) that alter the deoxynucleoside triphosphate (dNTP)- binding pocket, including those that confer resistance to nucleoside/nucleotide analogs, affect dNTP selection during replication. The effects of mutations in RT on the spectrum (nature, position, and frequency) of errors made in vivo are poorly understood. We previously determined the mutation rate and the frequency of different types of mutations and identified hot spots for mutations in a lacZα (the α complementing region of lacZ) reporter gene carried by an HIV-1 vector that replicates using wild-type RT. We show here that four mutations (Y115F, M184V, M184I, and Q151M) in the dNTP-binding pocket of RT that had relatively small effects on the overall HIV-1 mutation rate (less than 3-fold compared to the wild type) significantly increased mutations at some specific positions in the lacZα reporter gene. We also show that changes in a sequence that flanks the reporter gene can affect the mutations that arise in the reporter. These data show that changes either in HIV-1 RT or in the sequence of the nucleic acid template can affect the spectrum of mutations made during viral replication. This could, by implication, affect the generation of drug-resistant mutants and immunological-escape mutants in patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7589-7601
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number13
StatePublished - 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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