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AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2000 Jun 10;16(9):845-55.

Molecular characterization of a recombinant HIV type 1 isolate (A/G/E/?): unidentified regions may be derived from parental subtype E sequences.

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  • 1National Retrovirus Reference Center, Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology, Athens University Medical School, Greece.


Recombination is one of several factors contributing to the genetic diversity of HIV-1, which is divided into group M (itself comprising 11 subtypes, A-K) and two other groups named O and N. In the present study, the full-length genome of an HIV-1 isolate obtained from a Greek subject (GR17) infected in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire) was analyzed to reveal a novel mosaic sequence composed of subtypes A, G, and E and regions of indeterminate classification. In particular, most of pol and tat/vpu, as well as the region encoding intracellular domain of gp41, did not cluster with any of the previously characterized HIV-1 subtypes. The clustering of the LTR of GR17 with subtype E was suggestive of a subtype E origin of the unclassified regions. However, the identification of distinct characteristics in the LTR, such as two functional NF-kappaB sites and a distinct TAR element, compared with those of circulating (A/E) recombinants, suggests that the partial subtype E sequences found in GR17 and the mosaic viruses (A/E) have not derived from each other. These results provide evidence that parental subtype E may have existed in the geographic area of Central Africa.

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