Genetic comparison of human immunodeficiency virus (Hiv-1) isolates by polymerase chain reaction

Francine E. McCutchan, Eric Sanders-Buell, Charles W. Oster, Robert R. Redfield, Subash K. Hira, Peter L. Perine, Beth L.P. Ungar, Donald S. Burke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Summary: Amplification of DNA by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is influenced by the homology of oligonucleotide primers with the DNA template. We have developed a procedure, termed anchored PCR, whereby nucleotide sequence alterations in the template can be directly related to the quantity of amplified product. Genetic variation in the human immunodeficiency virus HIV-1 has been studied using anchored PCR. In four field isolates of the virus, the 3′LTR was compared both by PCR analysis of DNA from virus cultures and DNA sequencing. DNA templates that matched the primers varied less than threefold in PCR product yield, whereas significant 3′end primer-template mispairing decreased PCR product 10- to 100-fold. Using these guidelines for genetic variability manifested through PCR, 40 PCR primers encompassing the GAG, ENV, and 3′LTR segments of the genome were used to compare sequential HIV-1 isolates from six patients. Some primers were apparently located in genomic regions without significant interisolate variability, as they yielded equivalent amounts of amplified DNA from all the isolates. The quantity of amplified DNA obtained with other primers varied 10- to 100-fold among patients, but was consistent for sequential isolates from an individual patient. Two African HIV-1isolates were readily distinguished from a panel of North American isolates by the same method. Systematic classification of HIV-1 genetic variants may be possible by anchored PCR.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1241-1250
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1991


  • Genetic variation
  • HIV-1
  • PCR typing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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