Mullins Molecular Retrovirology Lab

  • Department of Microbiology
  • School of Medicine
  • University of Washington
University of Washington/Fred Hutch Center for AIDS Research

Citation Information

Diem K, Nickle DC, Motoshige A, Fox A, Ross S, Mullins JI, Corey L, Coombs RW, Krieger JN (2008). Male genital tract compartmentalization of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV). AIDS research and human retroviruses, 24(4), 561-71. (pubmed) (doi)


We present phylogenetic evidence supporting viral compartmentalization between the blood (peripheral blood mononuclear cells or plasma) and multiple genitourinary sites in HIV-infected men. Four of the five subjects evaluated demonstrated compartmentalization of viral sequences between urogenital tract specimens (tissue or fluid) and at least one blood category. HIV sequence migration from blood to urogenital tract was detected in four of five men, with migration from urogenital tract to blood in the fifth, and cross migration between both compartments noted in one man. These observations add 5 additional cases to the 27 total reported cases in which male urogenital tract compartmentalization has been studied, investigate surgical samples/specimens that have not been evaluated previously, and provide further evidence for restricted flow of HIV between the blood and the genital tract. As such, our study findings are important for understanding the long-term response to antiretroviral therapy, the design of vaccines, and the sexual transmission of HIV.