Human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) have been shown to compartmentalize within various tissues, including the brain. However, the evolution of viral quasispecies in the setting of drug abuse has not been characterized. The goal of this study was to examine viral evolution in the cerebral compartment of morphine-dependent and control macaques to determine its role in rapid disease progression. To address this issue, we analyzed the envelope (env) gene from proviral DNA in our SIV/SHIV macaque model of morphine dependence and AIDS. Analyses of proviral DNA revealed a direct correlation between total genetic changes and survival time. However, the rate of evolution during disease progression was higher in morphine-dependent and rapid-progressor macaques than was the rate of evolution in the control animals. This study provides additional insight into SIV envelope variation in the CNS of morphine-dependent macaques and genotypes that may have evolved in the brain and contributed to disease progression.
- Viral evolution
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