Yet again, give us the "HIV" structure, please 25 October 2004
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Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos,
Biophysicist
Department of Medical Physics, Royal Perth Hospital, Western Australia, 6001,
Valendar F Turner, John Papadimitriou, Barry Page, David Causer, Helman Alfonso, Sam Mhlongo, Todd Miller, Christian Fiala

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Re: Yet again, give us the "HIV" structure, please

Yet again, give us the "HIV" structure, please

In our rapid response: "Give us the "HIV" "structure:, please", 11 October, we wrote: "Would Nicholas Bennett please give us one major study and a few confirmatory studies showing that the introduction of the "HIV" RNA into a cell leads to the production of "an RNA/lipid/protein structure" (? viral particle). That is, would Nicholas Bennett please provide evidence for the existence of an "HIV-1 infectious molecular clone" as defined by Brian Foley (not by us): "The clone must produce virus particles that are identical by serology, morphology, protein sequences, RFLP, Southern blotting, etc., to the parental virus, and the particles must also be infectious. If a cloned viral genome does not meet these criteria, it is not an INFECTIOUS molecular clone of the virus, be it HIV-1 or any other virus" (Brian Foley's emphasis)."

In his response "Re: Give us the "HIV" "structure", please", 13 October, like Nicholas Bennett, Brian Foley gave us a lecture on how the retroviral "structure", "or infectious molecular clone" is obtained: "Nicholas Bennett, myself, Chris Noble and others have been patiently attempting to explain to the Perth Group that there are many features of retroviruses that are all required to make an infectious, replication- competent particle or infectious molecular clone. They include complete open reading frames for the structural proteins (Gag capsid, Gag nucleocapsid (3), Envelope (4) and sometimes others) and enzymes (Reverse transcriptase, Integrase (5), Protease and sometimes others), a reverse transcription primer binding site (lentiviruses all use the Lys-3 tRNA as primer (6), poly-purine tracts involved in ds-DNA formation (7), promoters and mRNA transcription start sites, poly-adenylation signals and elements such as the TAR element which suppress premature mRNA termination and polyadenylation from the 5' Poly-A signal (8). HIV-1 and HIV-2 also have several genes which encode regulatory proteins (such as Tat which binds to the TAR element), and proteins which enable the virus to evade cellular restrictions (such as Vif which aids in preventing CEM15 from degrading the RNA:DNA heteroduplex (9))."

However, like Nicholas Bennett, Brian Foley did not respond to our request, that is did not "give us one major study and a few confirmatory studies showing that the introduction of the "HIV" RNA (cDNA) into a cell leads to the production of "an RNA/lipid/protein structure" (HIV-1 infectious molecular clone).

In our rapid response: "Where is the "HIV-1 infectious molecular clone?", 13 July, we wrote: "Remember it is Brian Foley who has been insisting that EMs are not necessary and that we are wrong to claim there is no proof for the existence of "HIV-1". Brian Foley has repeatedly told us that if we knew molecular biology we would never question the existence of "HIV-1". He insists that the existence of the "HIV-1 infectious molecular clone" proves beyond reasonable doubt the existence of the virus. Yet he has been unable to give us a single reference with evidence that satisfies his definition of an "infectious molecular clone". So we repeat our request: Would Brian Foley please give us a summary of the evidence (not just the title) of a study as well as the evidence from a few confirmatory studies where the existence of an "infectious molecular clone" (as defined by Brian Foley) of "HIV-1 has been proven.

If Brian Foley fails to respond with his summaries and references then we must conclude his whole argument for the existence of "HIV-1", based upon the existence of the "HIV-1 infectious molecular clone", collapses."

Brian Foley did not respond.

Competing interests: None declared