Specific mutations in the UL97 region of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) have been found to confer resistance to laboratory-adapted strains subjected to ganciclovir selection. In this study, mutations in the UL97 region of HCMV isolates obtained from patients receiving ganciclovir therapy were examined to determine whether they would confer ganciclovir resistance, and if these mutations could be detected directly in the plasma of AIDS patients with progressive HCMV disease despite ganciclovir treatment. A single nucleotide change within a conserved region of UL97 was found in five resistant isolates, resulting in an amino acid substitution in residue 595: from leucine to phenylalanine in one, and from leucine to serine in four resistant isolates. A sixth resistant isolate demonstrated a single nucleotide change, leading to a threonine to isoleucine substitution in residue 659. The role of the 595 amino acid substitution in conferring ganciclovir resistance was confirmed by marker transfer experiments. In further studies, direct sequencing of HCMV DNA present in plasma obtained from persons with resistant viruses revealed the identical amino acid substitutions in plasma as those present in the cultured viruses. These findings indicate that clinical resistance to ganciclovir can result from specific point mutations in the UL97 gene, and that the emergence of the resistant genotype can be detected directly in patient plasma.
D G Wolf, I L Smith, D J Lee, W R Freeman, M Flores-Aguilar, S A Spector
Guidelines: The Editorial Board will only consider letters that we deem relevant and of interest to our readers. We will not post data that have not been subjected to peer review, nor will we post letters that are essentially a reiteration of another letter. We reserve the right to edit any letter for length, content, and clarity. Authors will be notified by e-mail if their letters were accepted. No appeals will be considered.
Specific requirements: All letters must be 400 words or fewer. You may enter the letter as plain text or HTML. The author's name and e-mail address are required, and will be posted with the letter. All possible conflicts of interest must be noted, even if they are not posted. If you wish to include a figure (keep in mind that non-peer-reviewed data will not be posted), please contact the editors directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.