DNA sequences and three distinct in vitro functions of Nef were evaluated in a group of seven perinatally infected children. nef gene sequences obtained before and after virus culture showed that one of the five non-/slow progressors harbored a virus with large deletions. nef genes from the remaining four children were full length but contained discrete changes at a higher frequency than the rapid progressors. In functional studies, 40 of 44 Nef proteins derived from the whole study group were capable of binding the cellular serine kinase p62, indicating that this function is well conserved among naturally occurring viruses. In contrast, representative Nef proteins derived from the long-term non-/slow progressors were found to be defective or far less capable of enhancing viral replication and/or viral infectivity in herpesvirus saimiri-transformed human T cells and peripheral blood mononuclear cells. On reversion of highly prevalent point mutations in the defective proteins, viral replication could be restored to wild-type levels. Our results suggest that nef genes derived from pediatric long-term nonprogressors have gross deletions in isolated cases but a higher prevalence of discrete changes that may impair Nef function in primary T cell assays, but not all functions reported for Nef.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases