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AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2012 Sep;28(9):1152-6. doi: 10.1089/AID.2011.0380. Epub 2012 May 2.

Genetic characterization of HIV type 1 Tat exon 1 from a southern Indian clinical cohort: identification of unique epidemiological signature residues.

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  • 1Clinical Virology, Department of Microbiology, St. John's Medical College, St. John's National Academy of Health Sciences, Bangalore, India.


The trans-activator of transcription (Tat) of HIV-1 plays an important role in viral infection and pathogenesis. We examined the genetic characteristics of exon 1 of the tat gene derived from 102 seropositive subjects from southern India. Database-derived Indian (n=105) and global (n=413) HIV-1C sequences were also used for viral epidemiological signature pattern analysis in the Tat open reading frame (ORF). We identified HIV-1C as the most predominant genetic subtype (99%) and the presence of a novel A1C recombinant strain in one study participant. After examining all the available HIV-1C Indian sequences from primary clinical isolates and database-derived sequences, we found a high level of sequence conservation (92.6 ± 12%) within Tat amino acid residues. Furthermore, signature pattern analysis identified five amino acid positions in Tat that contained signature residues unique for Indian HIV-1C consisting of 21A, 24N, 29K, 40K, and 60Q. Our data have direct relevance for subunit-based Tat HIV-1 vaccine development.

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