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Int J Immunogenet. 2009 Feb;36(1):21-32. doi: 10.1111/j.1744-313X.2008.00815.x. Epub 2008 Nov 25.

Identification of new variants within the two functional genes CCL3 and CCL3L encoding the CCL3 (MIP-1alpha) chemokine: implications for HIV-1 infection.

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  • 1AIDS Virus Research Unit, National Institute for Communicable Diseases, and Department of Virology, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.


The CC chemokine CCL3 is encoded by two functional genes, namely CCL3 and CCL3L, and has been identified as a key chemokine in HIV-1 susceptibility and disease progression. The complete CCL3 and CCL3L genes and core promoters of 43 African mother-infant pairs (86 samples) and 28 Caucasian adults in South Africa were sequenced and extensively analysed for genetic variations. Africans were found to be more polymorphic in both genes with 25 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the CCL3 gene and 14 gene copy number single nucleotide polymorphisms (gcnSNPs) in the CCL3L gene, compared to nine CCL3 SNPs and eight CCL3L gcnSNPs in Caucasians. A total of 14 polymorphisms across the two genes were newly identified in this study, most (12/14) of which were exclusive to the African population. In addition, two indels were identified and characterized in the CCL3 and CCL3L genes of a small number of individuals. Of the numerous unique intragenic haplotypes found in the two genes, none were shared by the two population groups. A newly identified five-SNP CCL3 haplotype (Hap-C1) found in a high frequency in Caucasians, however, seems to be evolutionarily related to the most prevalent newly identified African seven-SNP CCL3 haplotype (Hap-A1). Hap-A1 also includes an SNP in the core promoter region and previous CCL3 haplotypes that have been reported to be associated with HIV-1 infection appear to be smaller haplotypes within Hap-A1. We thus propose Hap-A1 as a likely candidate for influencing levels of CCL3 production and in turn outcomes of HIV-1 infection.

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