HIV-1 p17 plays an important role in the virus life-cycle and disease pathogenesis. Recent studies indicated a high heterogeneity of p17. A high number of insertions in the p17 carboxy-terminal region have been more frequently detected in patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), suggesting a role of altered p17 in lymphomagenesis. Based on p17 heterogeneity, possible PBMC/plasma compartmentalization of p17 variants was explored by ultra-deep pyrosequencing in five NHL patients. The high variability of p17 with insertions at the carboxy-terminal region was confirmed in plasma and observed for the first time in proviral genomes. Quasispecies compartmentalization was evident in 4/5 patients. Further studies are needed to define the possible role of p17 quasispecies compartmentalization in lymphomagenesis.
In-depth analysis of compartmentalization of HIV-1 matrix protein p17 in PBMC and plasma.