Plasma RNA viral load is not associated with intrapatient quasispecies heterogeneity in HIV-1 infection

Plasma RNA viral load is not associated with intrapatient quasispecies heterogeneity in HIV-1... The human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) viral set point has been associated with the rate of disease progression and with the level of HIV-specific immune response. The analysis of the possible association between viral set point and quasispecies heterogeneity has important consequences in the understanding of HIV-1 in vivo evolution. In this study, we analyzed the association between intrapatient viral diversity and RNA viral load in 16 antiretroviral therapy-naïve HIV-1-infected patients at a single time point, during the disease free period. Patients were separated into low and high viral load groups according to plasma RNA values. HIV-1 quasispecies complexity was assessed in the C2-V5 env region. The average intrapatient quasispecies heterogeneity in both groups was not significantly different (t-test, P > 0.05). However, while within the low viral load group both synonymous and non-synonymous mutations contribute to the variation observed, in the heterogeneity observed in the high viral load group there was an increase in the contribution of the non-synonymous mutations. Thus, this study show that although intrapatient quasispecies heterogeneity is not associated with viral set point in HIV-1 infection, some differences exist between the two groups in the pattern of mutation accumulation. Archives of Virology Springer Journals

Plasma RNA viral load is not associated with intrapatient quasispecies heterogeneity in HIV-1 infection

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