Thirty HIV-1 URF_01AE/ B′ complete or nearly full-length genome sequences sampled within Southeast Asia were obtained from the Los Alamos HIV Sequence Database. Phylogenetic and recombinant analyses revealed that three sequences indeed displayed the identical recombinant structure. Of note, the three subjects, harboring novel CRF01_AE/B recombinants, did not have apparent epidemiological linkage. They fulfilled the criteria for the designation of a new circulating recombinant form (CRF) and constituted the 52nd CRF identified in the worldwide HIV-1 pandemic. In this chimera, two short subtype B segments were inserted into a backbone of CRF_01AE. The breakpoints corresponded to HXB2 nucleotide positions 2930, 3251, 8521, and 9004 approximately. This CRF is the first one identified by neatening and analyzing the sequences already presented in the Los Alamos HIV Sequence Database. This indicates that we should pay attention not only to explicit subtype sequences but also to those classified as a unique recombinant form (URF) so far.
A recent HIV-1 molecular epidemiology survey in Singapore identified a novel CRF01_AE/B recombinant form, which accounted for 13 (11.9%) of 109 patient samples. Peripheral blood mononuclear cell DNA from three of these 13 patients was used to generate near full-length sequences to characterize the novel CRF01_AE/B recombinant form. The three isolates had a recombinant structure composed of CRF01_AE and subtype B, and shared identical breakpoints. As the three patients were not epidemiologically linked, this recombinant form has been designated CRF51_01B. Identification of the novel recombinant forms indicates ongoing active HIV-1 transmission in Singapore.
Yunnan has the longest endured Human Immunodeficiency Virus-1 (HIV-1) epidemic in China, and the genetic diversity of HIV-1 constitutes an essential characteristic of molecular epidemiology in this region. To obtain a more comprehensive picture of the dynamic changes in Yunnan’s HIV-1 epidemic, a cross-sectional molecular epidemiological investigation was carried out among recently infected individuals.
We sequenced partial gag (HXB2∶781–1861) and env (HXB2∶7002–7541) genes from 308 plasma samples of recently infected patients. With phylogenetic analysis, 130 specimens generated interpretable genotyping data. We found that the circulating genotypes included: CRF08_BC (40.8%), unique recombinant forms (URFs, 27.7%), CRF01_AE (18.5%), CRF07_BC (9.2%), subtype B (2.3%) and C (1.5%). CRF08_BC was the most common genotype, and was predominant in both intravenous drug users (IDUs) and heterosexually transmitted populations. CRF08_BC and CRF07_BC still predominated in eastern Yunnan, but CRF08_BC showed increasing prevalence in western Yunnan. Strikingly, the URFs raised dramatically in most regions of Yunnan. Seven different types of URFs were detected from 12 prefectures, suggesting that complicated and frequent recombination is a salient feature of Yunnan’s HIV-1 epidemic. Among URFs, two BC clusters with distinctive recombination patterns might be potential new CRF_BCs. CRF01_AE was no longer confined to the prefectures bordering Myanmar, and had spread to the eastern part of Yunnan, especially the capital city of Kunming, with a large number of infections in the transient population. The ratios of the main genotypes showed no statistical differences between infected IDUs and heterosexually transmitted infections.
The changing patterns of the dominant HIV-1 genotypes in Yunnan indicate the complex evolving dynamic nature of the epidemic. Understanding new trends in molecular epidemiology of HIV-1 infection is critical for adjusting current prevention strategies and vaccine development in Yunnan.
Since the discovery of HIV-1 circulating recombinant form (CRF) 33_01B in Malaysia in the early 2000 s, continuous genetic diversification and active recombination involving CRF33_01B and other circulating genotypes in the region including CRF01_AE and subtype B′ of Thai origin, have led to the emergence of novel CRFs and unique recombinant forms. The history and magnitude of CRF33_01B transmission among various risk groups including people who inject drugs (PWID) however have not been investigated despite the high epidemiological impact of CRF33_01B in the region. We update the most recent molecular epidemiology of HIV-1 among PWIDs recruited in Malaysia between 2010 and 2011 by population sequencing and phylogenetic analysis of 128 gag-pol sequences. HIV-1 CRF33_01B was circulating among 71% of PWIDs whilst a lower prevalence of other previously dominant HIV-1 genotypes [subtype B′ (11%) and CRF01_AE (5%)] and CRF01_AE/B′ unique recombinants (13%) were detected, indicating a significant shift in genotype replacement in this population. Three clusters of CRF01_AE/B′ recombinants displaying divergent yet phylogenetically-related mosaic genomes to CRF33_01B were identified and characterized, suggestive of an abrupt emergence of multiple novel CRF clades. Using rigorous maximum likelihood approach and the Bayesian Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) sampling of CRF33_01Bpol sequences to elucidate the past population dynamics, we found that the founder lineages of CRF33_01B were likely to have first emerged among PWIDs in the early 1990 s before spreading exponentially to various high and low-risk populations (including children who acquired infections from their mothers) and later on became endemic around the early 2000 s. Taken together, our findings provide notable genetic evidence indicating the widespread expansion of CRF33_01B among PWIDs and into the general population. The emergence of numerous previously unknown recombinant clades highlights the escalating genetic complexity of HIV-1 in the Southeast Asian region.
We report here the first novel HIV-1 circulating recombinant form (CRF) 54_01B (CRF54_01B) isolated from three epidemiologically unlinked subjects of different risk groups in Malaysia. These recently sampled recombinants showed a complex genome organization composed of parental subtype B′ and CRF01_AE, with identical recombination breakpoints observed in the gag, pol, and vif genes. Such a discovery highlights the ongoing active generation and spread of intersubtype recombinants involving the subtype B′ and CRF01_AE lineages and indicates the potential of the new CRF in bridging HIV-1 transmission among different risk groups in Southeast Asia.
Previous studies have shown that the HIV-1 epidemic in Cuba displayed a complex molecular epidemiologic profile with circulation of several subtypes and circulating recombinant forms (CRF); but the evolutionary and population history of those viral variants remains unknown. HIV-1 pol sequences of the most prevalent Cuban lineages (subtypes B, C and G, CRF18_cpx, CRF19_cpx, and CRFs20/23/24_BG) isolated between 1999 and 2011 were analyzed. Maximum-likelihood analyses revealed multiple introductions of subtype B (n≥66), subtype C (n≥10), subtype G (n≥8) and CRF18_cpx (n≥2) viruses in Cuba. The bulk of HIV-1 infections in this country, however, was caused by dissemination of a few founder strains probably introduced from North America/Europe (clades BCU-I and BCU-II), east Africa (clade CCU-I) and central Africa (clades GCU, CRF18CU and CRF19CU), or locally generated (clades CRFs20/23/24_BG). Bayesian-coalescent analyses show that the major HIV-1 founder strains were introduced into Cuba during 1985–1995; whereas the CRFs_BG strains emerged in the second half of the 1990s. Most HIV-1 Cuban clades appear to have experienced an initial period of fast exponential spread during the 1990s and early 2000s, followed by a more recent decline in growth rate. The median initial growth rate of HIV-1 Cuban clades ranged from 0.4 year−1 to 1.6 year−1. Thus, the HIV-1 epidemic in Cuba has been a result of the successful introduction of a few viral strains that began to circulate at a rather late time of the AIDS pandemic, but then were rapidly disseminated through local transmission networks.
To estimate the global and regional distribution of HIV-1 subtypes and recombinants between 2000 and 2007.
Country-specific HIV-1 molecular epidemiology data were combined with estimates of the number of HIV-infected people in each country.
Cross-sectional HIV-1 subtyping data were collected from 65913 samples in 109 countries between 2000 and 2007. The distribution of HIV-1 subtypes in individual countries was weighted according to the number of HIV-infected people in each country to generate estimates of regional and global HIV-1 subtype distribution for the periods 2000–2003 and 2004–2007.
Analysis of the global distribution of HIV-1 subtypes and recombinants in the two time periods indicated a broadly stable distribution of HIV-1 subtypes worldwide with a notable increase in the proportion of circulating recombinant forms (CRFs), a decrease in unique recombinant forms (URFs), and an overall increase in recombinants. In 2004–2007, subtype C accounted for nearly half (48%) of all global infections, followed by subtypes A (12%) and B (11%), CRF02_AG (8%), CRF01_AE (5%), subtype G (5%) and D(2%). Subtypes F, H, J and K together cause fewer than 1% of infections worldwide. Other CRFs and URFs are each responsible for 4% of global infections, bringing the combined total of worldwide CRFs to 16% and all recombinants (CRFs plus URFs) to 20%.
The global and regional distributions of individual subtypes and recombinants are broadly stable, although CRFs may play an increasing role in the HIV pandemic. The global diversity of HIV-1 poses a formidable challenge to HIV vaccine development.
HIV; subtype; Circulating Recombinant Form (CRF); recombinant; molecular epidemiology; vaccine
The aim of this work is to characterize the full-length intersubtype recombinant structure of the HIV-1 Circulating Recombinant Form CRF17_BF. A single genome of CRF17_BF was originally described in 2001 as being largely similar to CRF12_BF. Since then, more genomes of CRF17_BF have been sequenced but not adequately described in publications. Here we describe CRF17_BF as a genuine CRF, and analyze its recombination pattern based on bootscan analyses, subtype signature patterns, and phylogenetic reconstruction of subtype-delimited segments. We show that CRF17_BF can be distinguished from CRF12_BF in several regions of the genome, including vpu, pol, env and nef. A complete and accurate characterization and description of recombination breakpoints in CRFs is required for a proper surveillance of HIV-1 genotypes, and important for epidemiological purposes.
HIV-1 subtypes; Argentina; BF recombinants; HIV diversity; Molecular epidemiology; CRF17_BF
HIV-1 subtype B and subtype F are prevalent in the AIDS epidemic of Brazil. Recombinations between these subtypes have generated at least four BF circulating recombinant forms (CRFs). CRF28_BF and CRF29_BF are among the first two BF recombinants being identified in Brazil and they contributed significantly to the epidemic. However, the evolution and demographic histories of the CRFs are unclear.
A collection of gag and pol sequences sampled within Brazil was screened for CRF28_BF-like and CRF29_BF-like recombination patterns. A Bayesian coalescent framework was employed to delineate the phylogenetic, divergence time and population dynamics of the virus having CRF28_BF-like and CRF29_BF-like genotype. These recombinants were phylogenetically related to each other and formed a well-supported monophyletic clade dated to 1988–1989. The effective number of infections by these recombinants grew exponentially over a five-year period after their emergence, but then decreased toward the present following a logistic model of population growth. The demographic pattern of both recombinants closely resembles those previously reported for CRF31_BC.
We revealed that HIV-1 recombinants of the CRF28_BF/CRF29_BF clade are still circulating in the Brazilian population. These recombinants did not exhibit a strong founder effect and showed a decreasing prevalence in the AIDS epidemic of Brazil. Our data suggested that multiple URFs may also play a role in shaping the epidemic of recombinant BF HIV-1 in the region.
We report here a novel HIV-1 circulating recombinant form (CRF) (CRF59_01B) comprised of CRF01_AE and subtype B, with two recombination breakpoints in the pol and vpu-env regions, respectively. CRF59_01B was identified from three epidemiologically unlinked men who have sex with men (MSM) in northeast China. This represents the second CRF identified in the MSM population in China.
We report here a novel HIV-1 circulating recombinant form (CRF55_01B) composed of CRF01_AE and subtype B, with four recombination breakpoints in the pol gene. CRF55_01B was identified from three epidemiologically unlinked men having sex with men (MSM) in China, suggesting the ongoing generation of recombinants involving CRF01_AE and subtype B lineages among MSM in China.
Recombination between HIV-1 subtypes B and F has generated several circulating and unique recombinant forms, particularly in Latin American areas. In Italy, subtype B is highly prevalent while subtype F is the most common pure non-B subtype. To investigate the recombination pattern in Italian BF recombinant viruses, we characterized full-length sequences derived from 15 adult patients, mostly Italian and infected by the heterosexual route. One of the BF mosaics was a CRF29, three sequences clustered with low bootstrap values with CRF39, CRF40, and CRF42. With the exception of the CRF29-like sequence, the other recombination patterns were unique, but two possible clusters were identified. Analysis of the gp120 V3 domain suggested a possible link with subtype F from Eastern Europe rather than from Latin America, favoring the hypothesis of local recombination between clade B and F viruses over that of import of BF recombinants from Latin America. HIV-1 subtypes B and F appear prone to generation of unique recombinants in Italy, warranting epidemiological surveillance and investigation of a possible clinical significance.
Multiple HIV-1 subtypes and circulating recombinant forms (CRFs) are known to cocirculate in Africa. In West Africa, the high prevalence of CRF02_AG, and cocirculation of subtype A, CRF01_AE, CRF06_cpx, and other complex intersubtype recombinants has been well documented. Mali, situated in the heart of West Africa, is likely to be affected by the spread of recombinant subtypes. However, the dynamics of the spread of HIV-1 recombinant subtypes as well as nonrecombinant HIV-1 group M subtypes in this area have not been systematically assessed. Herein, we undertook genetic analyses on full-length env sequences derived from HIV-1-infected individuals living in the capital city of Mali, Bamako. Of 23 samples we examined, 16 were classified as CRF02_AG and three had a subsubtype A3. Among the remaining HIV-1 strains, CRF06_cpx and CRF09_cpx were each found in two patients. Comparison of phylogenies for six matched pol and full-length env sequences revealed that two strains had discordant subtype/CRF designations between the pol and env regions: one had A3polCRF02_AGenv and the other had CRF02_AGpolA3env. Taken together, our study demonstrated the high prevalence of CRF02_AG and complexity of circulating HIV-1 strains in Mali. It also provided evidence of ongoing virus evolution of CRF02_AG, as illustrated by the emergence of more complex CRF02_AG/A3 intersubtype recombinants in this area.
Understanding HIV-1 subtype distribution and epidemiology can assist preventive measures and clinical decisions. Sequence variation may affect antiviral drug resistance development, disease progression, evolutionary rates and transmission routes.
We investigated the subtype distribution of HIV-1 in Europe and Israel in a representative sample of patients diagnosed between 2002 and 2005 and related it to the demographic data available. 2793 PRO-RT sequences were subtyped either with the REGA Subtyping tool or by a manual procedure that included phylogenetic tree and recombination analysis. The most prevalent subtypes/CRFs in our dataset were subtype B (66.1%), followed by sub-subtype A1 (6.9%), subtype C (6.8%) and CRF02_AG (4.7%). Substantial differences in the proportion of new diagnoses with distinct subtypes were found between European countries: the lowest proportion of subtype B was found in Israel (27.9%) and Portugal (39.2%), while the highest was observed in Poland (96.2%) and Slovenia (93.6%). Other subtypes were significantly more diagnosed in immigrant populations. Subtype B was significantly more diagnosed in men than in women and in MSM > IDUs > heterosexuals. Furthermore, the subtype distribution according to continent of origin of the patients suggests they acquired their infection there or in Europe from compatriots.
The association of subtype with demographic parameters suggests highly compartmentalized epidemics, determined by social and behavioural characteristics of the patients.
A simple approach for the determination of drug susceptibilities by using human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) RNA from the sera of patients is described. HIV-1 RNA was extracted from patient sera, and the 5' part of the reverse transcriptase (RT) gene was transcribed into DNA and amplified in a nested PCR. The amplified fragment covers the 3' part of the protease gene and amino acids 1 to 304 of the RT gene. This fragment can be introduced through homologous recombination, as described previously, into a novel HIV-1 reference strain (pHXB2 delta 2-261RT) from which amino acids 2 to 261 of RT have been deleted. The resulting recombinant virus expresses all properties of the HXB2 reference strain except for those encoded by the introduced part of the patient RT gene. Recombinant viruses were subsequently tested for drug susceptibility in a microtiter format killing assay [3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2, 5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide assay] as well as in the standard HeLa CD4+ plaque reduction assay. Similar susceptibility profiles were obtained by each assay with recombinant viruses derived from patients receiving alternating nevirapine and zidovudine treatment or lamivudine-zidovudine combination therapy. In conclusion, this approach enables high-through-put determination of the drug susceptibilities of serum RNA-derived RT genes, independent of the patient's viral background, and generates the possibility of relating changes in susceptibility to changes in viral genotypes.
A recombinant human monoclonal antibody, IgG1 b12 (b12), recognizes a conformational epitope on human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) envelope glycoprotein (Env) gp120 that overlaps the CD4 binding domain. Although b12 is able to broadly neutralize HIV-1 subtype B, C, and D viruses, many HIV-1 CRF01_AE viruses are resistant to b12-mediated neutralization. In this report, we examined the molecular mechanisms underlying the low neutralization susceptibility of CRF01_AE viruses to b12, using recently established CRF01_AE Env recombinant viruses. Our results showed that two potential N-linked glycosylation (PNLG) sites in the V2 and C2 regions of Env gp120 played an important role in regulating the susceptibility of CRF01_AE Env to b12. The locations of these PNLG sites correspond to amino acid positions 186 and 197 in HXB2 Env gp120; thus, they are designated N186 and N197 in this study. Removal of N186 significantly conferred the b12 susceptibility of 2 resistant CRF01_AE Env clones, 65CC4 and 107CC2, while the introduction of N186 reduced the b12 susceptibility of a susceptible CRF01_AE Env clone, 65CC1. In addition, removal of both N186 and N197 conferred the b12 susceptibility of 3 resistant CRF01_AE Env clones, 45PB1, 62PL1, and 101PL1, whereas the removal of either N186 or N197 was not sufficient to confer the b12 susceptibility of these CRF01_AE Env clones. Finally, removal of N197 conferred the b12 susceptibility of 2 resistant CRF01_AE Env clones lacking N186, 55PL1 and 102CC2. Taken together, we propose that two PNLG sites, N186 and N197, in Env gp120 are important determinants of the b12 resistance of CRF01_AE viruses.
CRF14_BG isolates, originally found in Spain, are characterized by CXCR4 tropism and rapid disease progression. This study aimed to identify the origin of CRF14_BG and reconstruct its epidemiological history based on new isolates from Portugal.
C2V3C3 env gene sequences were obtained from 62 samples collected in 1993–1998 from Portuguese HIV-1 patients. Full-length genomic sequences were obtained from three patients. Viral subtypes, diversity, divergence rate and positive selection were investigated by phylogenetic analysis. The molecular structure of the genomes was determined by bootscanning. A relaxed molecular clock model was used to date the origin of CRF14_BG. Geno2pheno was used to predict viral tropism. Subtype B was the most prevalent subtype (45 sequences; 73%) followed by CRF14_BG (8; 13%), G (4; 6%), F1 (2; 3%), C (2; 3%) and CRF02_AG (1; 2%). Three CRF14_BG sequences were derived from 1993 samples. Near full-length genomic sequences were strongly related to the CRF14_BG isolates from Spain. Genetic diversity of the Portuguese isolates was significantly higher than the Spanish isolates (0.044 vs 0.014, P<0.0001). The mean date of origin of the CRF14_BG cluster was estimated to be 1992 (range, 1989 and 1996) based on the subtype G genomic region and 1989 (range, 1984–1993) based on the subtype B genomic region. Most CRF14_BG strains (78.9%) were predicted to be CXCR4. Finally, up to five amino acids were under selective pressure in subtype B V3 loop whereas only one was found in the CRF14_BG cluster.
CRF14_BG emerged in Portugal in the early 1990 s soon after the beginning of the HIV-1 epidemics, spread to Spain in late 1990 s as a consequence of IVDUs migration and then to the rest of Europe. CXCR4 tropism is a general characteristic of this CRF that may have been selected for by escape from neutralizing antibody response.
A cross-sectional study on 625 Female Sex Workers (FSWs) was conducted between 2000 and 2002 in 6 cities in Argentina. This study describes the genetic diversity and the resistance profile of the HIV-infected subjects.
Seventeen samples from HIV positive FSWs were genotyped by env HMA, showing the presence of 9 subtype F, 6 subtype B and 2 subtype C. Sequence analysis of the protease/RT region on 16 of these showed that 10 were BF recombinants, three were subtype B, two were subtype C, and one sample presented a dual infection with subtype B and a BF recombinant. Full-length genomes of five of the protease/RT BF recombinants were also sequenced, showing that three of them were CRF12_BF. One FSW had a dual HIV-1 infection with subtype B and a BF recombinant. The B sections of the BF recombinant clustered closely with the pure B sequence isolated from the same patient. Major resistance mutations to antiretroviral drugs were found in 3 of 16 (18.8%) strains.
The genetic diversity of HIV strains among FSWs in Argentina was extensive; about three-quarters of the samples were infected with diverse BF recombinants, near twenty percent had primary ART resistance and one sample presented a dual infection. Heterosexual transmission of genetically diverse, drug resistant strains among FSWs and their clients represents an important and underestimated threat, in Argentina.
Limited information is available to describe the molecular epidemiology of HIV-1 in Bulgaria. To better understand the genetic diversity and the epidemiologic dynamics of HIV-1 we analyzed 125 new polymerase (pol) sequences from Bulgarians diagnosed through 2009 and 77 pol sequences available from our previous study from persons infected prior to 2007. Epidemiologic and demographic information was obtained from each participant and phylogenetic analysis was used to infer HIV-1 evolutionary histories. 120 (59.5%) persons were infected with one of five different HIV-1 subtypes (A1, B, C, F1 and H) and 63 (31.2%) persons were infected with one of six different circulating recombinant forms (CRFs; 01_AE, 02_AG, 04_cpx, 05_DF, 14_BG, and 36_cpx). We also for the first time identified infection with two different clusters of unique A-like and F-like sub-subtype variants in 12 persons (5.9%) and seven unique recombinant forms (3.5%), including a novel J/C recombinant. While subtype B was the major genotype identified and was more prevalent in MSM and increased between 2000–2005, most non-B subtypes were present in persons ≥45 years old. CRF01_AE was the most common non-B subtype and was higher in women and IDUs relative to other risk groups combined. Our results show that HIV-1 infection in Bulgaria reflects the shifting distribution of genotypes coincident with the changing epidemiology of the HIV-1 epidemic among different risk groups. Our data support increased public health interventions targeting IDUs and MSM. Furthermore, the substantial and increasing HIV-1 genetic heterogeneity, combined with fluctuating infection dynamics, highlights the importance of sustained and expanded surveillance to prevent and control HIV-1 infection in Bulgaria.
We have developed and validated an oligonucleotide probe hybridization assay for human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) circulating recombinant form (CRF) CRF02_AG. In the p17 coding region of the gag gene, a CRF02_AG-specific signature pattern was observed. Five working probes were designed to discriminate CRF02_AG infections from infections by all other documented subtypes and CRFs in an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay-based oligonucleotide probe hybridization assay. Nucleic acids were extracted from a panel of HIV-1-positive plasma samples from Cameroon, Bénin, Côte d'Ivoire, Kenya, Zambia, and Belgium and from blood spots from The Gambia. CRF02_AG (n = 147) and non-CRF02 (n = 100) samples were analyzed to evaluate and validate the oligonucleotide probe hybridization assay. The CRF02_AG-specific oligonucleotide probe hybridization assay has a high sensitivity and specificity, with good positive and negative predictive values in regions of high and low prevalence. A validation of the assay with West and West Central African samples indicated a sensitivity of 98.4% and a specificity of 96.7%. The oligonucleotide probe hybridization assay as a diagnostic tool will allow for rapid screening for CRF02_AG. This could be used to track the HIV epidemic in terms of documenting the real prevalence of CRF02_AG strains and will complement efforts in vaccine development. Moreover, this technology can easily be applied in laboratories in developing countries.
Although some studies have shown diversity in HIV integrase (IN) genes, none has focused particularly on the gene evolving in epidemics in the context of recombination. The IN gene in 157 HIV-1 integrase inhibitor-naïve patients from the São Paulo State, Brazil, were sequenced tallying 128 of subtype B (23 of which were found in non-B genomes), 17 of subtype F (8 of which were found in recombinant genomes), 11 integrases were BF recombinants, and 1 from subtype C. Crucially, we found that 4 BF recombinant viruses shared a recurrent recombination breakpoint region between positions 4900 and 4924 (relative to the HXB2) that includes 2 gRNA loops, where the RT may stutter. Since these recombinants had independent phylogenetic origin, we argue that these results suggest a possible recombination hotspot not observed so far in BF CRF in particular, or in any other HIV-1 CRF in general. Additionally, 40% of the drug-naïve and 45% of the drug-treated patients had at least 1 raltegravir (RAL) or elvitegravir (EVG) resistance-associated amino acid change, but no major resistance mutations were found, in line with other studies. Importantly, V151I was the most common minor resistance mutation among B, F, and BF IN genes. Most codon sites of the IN genes had higher rates of synonymous substitutions (dS) indicative of a strong negative selection. Nevertheless, several codon sites mainly in the subtype B were found under positive selection. Consequently, we observed a higher genetic diversity in the B portions of the mosaics, possibly due to the more recent introduction of subtype F on top of an ongoing subtype B epidemics and a fast spread of subtype F alleles among the B population.
Although HIV-1 CRF12_BF and CRF38_BF are two epidemiologically important recombinant lineages circulating in Argentina and Uruguay, little is known about their population dynamics.
A total of 120 "CRF12_BF-like" and 20 "CRF38_BF-like" pol recombinant sequences collected in Argentina and Uruguay from 1997 to 2009 were subjected to phylogenetic and Bayesian coalescent-based analyses to estimate evolutionary and demographic parameters.
Phylogenetic analyses revealed that CRF12_BF viruses from Argentina and Uruguay constitute a single epidemic with multiple genetic exchanges among countries; whereas circulation of the CRF38_BF seems to be confined to Uruguay. The mean estimated substitution rate of CRF12_BF at pol gene (2.5 × 10-3 substitutions/site/year) was similar to that previously described for subtype B. According to our estimates, CRF12_BF and CRF38_BF originated at 1983 (1978-1988) and 1986 (1981-1990), respectively. After their emergence, the CRF12_BF and CRF38_BF epidemics seem to have experienced a period of rapid expansion with initial growth rates of around 1.2 year-1 and 0.9 year-1, respectively. Later, the rate of spread of these CRFs_BF seems to have slowed down since the mid-1990s.
Our results suggest that CRF12_BF and CRF38_BF viruses were generated during the 1980s, shortly after the estimated introduction of subtype F1 in South America (~1975-1980). After an initial phase of fast exponential expansion, the rate of spread of both CRFs_BF epidemics seems to have slowed down, thereby following a demographic pattern that resembles those previously reported for the HIV-1 epidemics in Brazil, USA, and Western Europe.
Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is classified in nine subtypes (A to D, F, G, H, J, and K), a number of subsubtypes, and several circulating recombinant forms (CRFs). Due to the high level of genetic diversity within HIV-1 and to its worldwide distribution, this classification system is widely used in fields as diverse as vaccine development, evolution, epidemiology, viral fitness, and drug resistance. Here, we demonstrate how the high recombination rates of HIV-1 may confound the study of its evolutionary history and classification. Our data show that subtype G, currently classified as a pure subtype, has in fact a recombinant history, having evolved following recombination between subtypes A and J and a putative subtype G parent. In addition, we find no evidence for recombination within one of the lineages currently classified as a CRF, CRF02_AG. Our analysis indicates that CRF02_AG was the parent of the recombinant subtype G, rather than the two having the opposite evolutionary relationship, as is currently proposed. Our results imply that the current classification of HIV-1 subtypes and CRFs is an artifact of sampling history, rather than reflecting the evolutionary history of the virus. We suggest a reanalysis of all pure subtypes and CRFs in order to better understand how high rates of recombination have influenced HIV-1 evolutionary history.
The gag-based heteroduplex mobility assay (gag-HMA) was evaluated for its ease and reliability in subtyping circulating recombinant forms (CRFs) of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) in Côte d'Ivoire. One hundred thirty-two plasma samples were analyzed blindly for HIV-1 subtypes by sequencing the pol gene and by gag-HMA. DNA sequencing was used as the “gold standard.” Of the 132 samples sequenced, 108 (82%) were CRF02_AG, 14 (11%) were pure subtype A, 5 (4%) were subtype G, 3 (2%) were subtype D, 1 was CRF01_AE, and 1 was subtype H. The gag-HMA correctly classified 126 (95.5%) of the samples. Of the 108 samples that were classified as CRF02_AG by DNA sequencing, 107 (99%) were correctly identified by gag-HMA, resulting in a positive predictive value of 96.4%. The gag-HMA seems to be a valuable tool for understanding the molecular epidemiology of HIV-1 CRF02_AG in Côte d'Ivoire and West Africa, which could be important for developing and evaluating AIDS vaccines, although DNA sequencing remains necessary for accurate molecular epidemiology.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) type 1 (HIV-1) variants were selected for resistance to the (+) and (−) enantiomers of a novel nucleoside analogue, 2′-deoxy-3′-oxa-4′-thio-5-fluorocytidine (dOTFC), by use of the infectious molecular clone HIV HXB2D and the human T-cell line MT-4. The dOTFC-resistant variants that were selected were 10-fold less sensitive than wild-type virus, and cloning and sequencing of the complete reverse transcriptase (RT)-coding region identified the mutation M184V. Studies with mutated recombinant HXB2D virus confirmed the importance of the M184V mutation in conferring resistance to (−)dOTFC in MT-4 cells, although no difference in sensitivity was observed in primary cells. The M184V substitution also displayed decreased susceptibility to (+)dOTFC. Selection with (+)dOTFC also produced variants which were 10-fold more resistant than the wild type, and a novel mutation, D67G, was identified following cloning and sequencing of the RT genes. The D67G mutation was introduced into HXB2D by site-directed mutagenesis, and the data obtained confirmed the importance of this mutation in conferring resistance to both (+)dOTFC and (−)dOTFC. Mutated recombinant molecular clone HXB2D-D67G was further selected with (+)dOTFC, and three of six clones sequenced contained both the D67G and M184V mutations, while the other three of the six clones contained only the D67G mutation. Clinical isolates of HIV-1 which are (−) 2′-deoxy-3′-thiacytidine-resistant also displayed resistance to both (+)dOTFC and (−)dOTFC.