Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV) infection of the central nervous system frequently causes HIV-associated dementia (HAD) and other neurological disorders. The role of HIV regulatory and accessory proteins in the pathogenesis of these disorders is unclear. Here we analyzed sequences of tat, rev, and vpu genes in 55 subgenomic clones previously shown to encode functional env genes from brain and lymphoid tissues of four AIDS patients with HAD. Phylogenetic analysis showed distinct compartmentalization of tat, rev, and vpu genes in brain versus lymphoid tissues. Nine of 19 vpu sequences from brain of two patients had premature stop codons at positions between amino acids 2 and 30, compared with 0 of 8 from lymphoid tissues. Tat sequences from brain (n = 8 of 8) but not lymphoid (n = 0 of 6) tissue from one patient had a 35 amino acid truncation at the C-terminus. Rev sequences from the brain of one patient (n = 6 of 8) had a 5 amino acid truncation. These results demonstrate a high frequency of defective vpu compared with tat and rev genes in brain from HAD patients, and identify sequence variants of these regulatory/accessory genes that may influence the pathogenesis of HIV-associated neurological disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases