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Cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) are thought to play a crucial role in the termination of the acute primary HIV-1 syndrome, but clear evidence for this presumption has been lacking. Here we demonstrate positive selection of HIV-1 proviral sequences encoding variants within a CTL epitope in Nef, a gene product critical for viral pathogenicity, during and after seroconversion. These positively selected HIV-1 variants carried epitope sequence changes that either diminished or escaped CTL recognition. Other proviruses had mutations that abolished the Nef epitope altogether. These results provide clear evidence that CTLs exert selection pressure on the viral population in acute HIV-1 infection.

Original publication

DOI

10.1073/pnas.94.5.1890

Type

Journal article

Journal

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A

Publication Date

04/03/1997

Volume

94

Pages

1890 - 1895

Keywords

Adult, Amino Acid Sequence, Clone Cells, Cloning, Molecular, Epitopes, Gene Products, nef, Genotype, HIV Antigens, HIV Infections, HIV-1, HLA Antigens, Humans, Male, Molecular Sequence Data, Peptides, Polymerase Chain Reaction, Proviruses, Selection, Genetic, Sequence Analysis, T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic, nef Gene Products, Human Immunodeficiency Virus