The extent of virus genetic variation within tissues and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from two simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-infected macaques was analyzed. The products of PCR amplification of two regions, region 1 (SIV V1 region) and region 2 (region corresponding to the human immunodeficiency virus V3 cysteine loop and part of the C3 region immediately downstream), of the SIV envelope were examined for single-stranded conformation polymorphism followed by sequence analysis of selected clones. The V1 region of the SIV envelope of viruses present within lymphoid tissues displayed extensive heterogeneity, while viral populations within the PBMC and brain appeared to be less variable. Region 2 heterogeneity in both animals was generally confined to three residues in a tissue-specific manner. In addition, virus from the brains of both animals appeared to be distinct compared with viruses present in other tissues and PBMC of the same animal, both in the pattern of PCR-single-stranded conformation polymorphism SCP and in the sequence of region 2. These studies revealed that the tissues of SIV-infected macaques were a reservoir for viral variants distinct from those seen in PBMC
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