Delayed Seroconversion to HTLV-II Is Associated with a Stop-Codon Mutation in the pol Gene.


A known HIV-1-positive intravenous drug user was found to be human T cell lymphoma/leukemia virus-II (HTLV-II) DNA positive by polymerase chain reaction but seronegative in a screening ELISA. He was consistently DNA positive but took 2 years to fully seroconvert. Sequencing of the HTLV-II strain in his cultured T lymphocytes indicated that it is a prototypical type A strain with no major differences in the long terminal repeat DNA sequence, nor major amino acid differences in the Gag, Env, Tax, and Rex proteins. However, a mutation in its pol gene created a stop codon at amino acid 543 of the Pol protein, a region that encodes for the RNase function. This mutation may account for the subject's slow seroconversion.


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