Background. In a phase III controlled trial IMproved Protection Against Cytomegalovirus in Transplantation (IMPACT) comparing 200 with 100 days of valganciclovir prophylaxis in 318 cytomegalovirus D+/R- kidney transplant recipients, an equal number of patients (n=3 per arm) had known ganciclovir resistance mutations detected during viral breakthrough. In addition, many other viral sequence variants were observed that were of unknown significance for ganciclovir resistance. Recombinant phenotyping was performed to determine whether the previously uncharacterized genotypic changes affected ganciclovir susceptibility, especially in those receiving the longer duration of prophylaxis. Methods. Sequences encoding individual amino acid substitutions in the UL97 kinase or UL54 DNA polymerase gene were transferred by recombination into a cloned cytomegalovirus laboratory strain, followed by reporter-based yield reduction phenotypic assay of the resulting virus for ganciclovir susceptibility. Results. Twenty-six uncharacterized amino acid substitutions were detected, 2 in UL97 and 24 in UL54. All 10 substitutions in the 200-day arm and 9 of 17 substitutions in the 100-day arm (prioritized based on location and conservation) were selected for phenotyping; one substitution was detected in both subsets. Results were generated for nine of ten 200-day and eight of nine 100-day substitutions, with no substitution demonstrating a significant reduction in ganciclovir susceptibility. The two remaining amino acid substitutions, both in UL54, were not evaluated because of poor viral viability. Conclusion. Phenotypic evaluation of previously uncharacterized viral genotypes in the 200-day valganciclovir prophylaxis group showed no evidence of an increased incidence of genotypic ganciclovir resistance when compared with those in the 100-day prophylaxis group.
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