Compositional similarities between the human immunodeficiency virus and surface antigens of pathogens.

Research paper by D J DJ Fitzgerald, E C EC Bronson, J N JN Anderson

Indexed on: 20 Jan '96Published on: 20 Jan '96Published in: AIDS research and human retroviruses


The genome of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is rich in A but not U and deficient in C but not G. This asymmetric nucleotide bias is the major factor in determining the unusual composition of HIV proteins. In this report, we have identified the cellular genes in the GenBank database that are compositionally similar to HIV in order to further understand the significance of the nucleotide bias of the viral genome. A total of 101 genes in the bacterial and invertebrate subdivisions of the database were found to have a base composition that is similar to the composition of the HIV genome. The identified cellular sequences represent a discrete subset of the database since 81 of the 101 entries code for antigens from pathogens and nearly all of these organisms infect humans. The amino acid compositions of these surface antigens are also similar to the unusual composition of HIV proteins, which are deficient in proline and rich in lysine and other polar residues encoded by A-rich codons. The similarities between the HIV proteins and the immunodominant antigens from other pathogens may indicate a common pathogenic strategy for the promotion of immune dysregulation.