Multidrug-resistant variants of HIV type 1 (HIV-1) can exist in cells as defective quasispecies and be rescued by superinfection with other defective HIV-1 variants

J Infect Dis. 2009 Nov 1;200(9):1479-83. doi: 10.1086/606117.


A tissue culture cell line infected with multidrug-resistant (MDR) human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) produced only noninfectious particles because of a lethal mutation in env. The defective MDR provirus was rescued by superinfection with either wild-type HIV-1 or a second replication-defective virus lethally mutated in capsid. Drug-resistance phenotyping revealed that the MDR viruses dominated if even single reverse-transcriptase inhibitors were present, reflecting linkage of the various drug resistance mutations on a single viral nucleic acid backbone. These results are most likely attributable to recombination during second rounds of infection and suggest that defective HIV-1 variants may nonetheless constitute part of the HIV-1 reservoir.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line
  • Defective Viruses / genetics*
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple, Viral / genetics*
  • HIV-1 / drug effects
  • HIV-1 / genetics*
  • Humans
  • RNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / genetics*
  • Recombination, Genetic / genetics*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors
  • Superinfection


  • Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors
  • RNA-Directed DNA Polymerase