The role of the nef gene in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection is poorly understood. To provide a basis for studies on the role of nef in AIDS, we used targeted polymerase chain reaction amplification and DNA sequencing to determine the structure of nef genes in pathologic tissue from HIV-1-infected children and adults. We find that the nef reading frame is open in 92% of clones derived from both brain and lymphocytic tissue of children, suggesting that nef is expressed in these tissues. One HIV-1 clone, BRVA, obtained by coculture from the brain of an adult AIDS patient with progressive dementia, was previously shown to contain a duplicated region in nef. We show here that similar duplications are widespread in both adults and children with AIDS. However, coculture strongly selects against the broad spectrum of nef quasispecies found in tissue. These findings suggest functional selection for nef quasispecies in pathologic tissues during HIV-1 infection of the human host.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science