Viral Variability and Serum Antibody Response in a Laboratory Worker Infected with HIV Type 1 (HTLV Type IIIB)

Marvin S. Reitz, Leota Hall, Marjorie Robert-Guroff, James Lautenberger, Beatrice M. Hahn, George M. Shaw, Lilly I. Kong, Stanley H. Weiss, Dave Waters, Robert C. Gallo, William Blattner

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26 Scopus citations


Molecular clones of HIV-1 were obtained from isolates cultured from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and directly from uncultured PBMCs from a laboratory worker accidentally infected with the HIV-1 laboratory strain, HIV-1(HTLV-IIIB). Envelope sequences corresponding to the first 752 amino acids of HIV-1(HTLV-IIIB) clone BH10 were obtained from clones of cultured virus and sequenced. Three env clones obtained shortly after infection differed among themselves at only seven nucleotide positions, resulting in one amino acid substitution and one frameshift mutation. These envelope sequences were as similar to the envelope sequences of various IIIB clones as the latter were to each other, env divergence increased over the course of infection. However, the overall diversity in env clones obtained two or more years after infection was still comparable to that among IIIB env clones from the original IIIB culture. Multiple clones of partial env gene sequences containing the V3 loop were also obtained directly from uncultured PBMCs by polymerase chain reaction amplification. The env sequences of these clones were generally similar to those of the cultured viruses. Within the V3 region, the earliest isolates retained the sequence of the HXB2 clone from IIIB. Clones obtained later showed a progressive divergence in V3. An A-to-T substitution within the GPGRAF sequence at the tip of the V3 loop was observed within 1 year after infection, and this mutation predominated in all subsequent isolates. Antibodies against the V3 loops of IIIB and divergent 1987 and 1990 LW isolates appeared simultaneously in laboratory worker serum and persisted with no significant differences in titer. Furthermore, neutralization studies with autologous sequential sera suggested selection for the A-to-T change in V3 was not due to V3-directed antibodies. These results demonstrate a surprising homogeneity among env sequences of HIV-1 from an infected laboratory worker, perhaps because the initial infection originated from a relatively homogeneous population of tissue culture-adapted virus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1143-1155
Number of pages13
JournalAIDS research and human retroviruses
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1994

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology
  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases

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