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AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2000 Jul 20;16(11):1047-53.

An AB recombinant and its parental HIV type 1 strains in the area of the former Soviet Union: low requirements for sequence identity in recombination. UNAIDS Virus Isolation Network.

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  • 1Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, National Public Health Institute, Helsinki, Finland.


In the former Soviet Union (SU) increasing numbers of HIV-1 infections among injecting drug users (IDU) have been reported, especially in the Ukraine. The main subtype transmitted among the IDUs seems to be subtype A, but limited numbers of subtype B cases have also been reported. In Kaliningrad, Russia, an AB recombinant strain was earlier shown to be responsible for the local outbreak. Here we describe the genetic relationship of HIV-1 strains circulating among IDUs in the former SU. For subtype A and the AB recombinant strains nearly full-length genomes were sequenced, and for one subtype B strain the entire envelope gene was cloned. The relationship between the AB recombinant strain and the subtype A and subtype B strains and the mosaic structure of the recombinant was studied by phylogenetic analysis. Ukrainian A and B strains were shown to be the probable parental viruses of the Kaliningrad AB recombinant strain. In the envelope gene the recombination breakpoint could also be precisely mapped to a region of similarity of only 14 base pairs. This suggests that only short stretches of absolute sequence identity may be needed for efficient RNA recombination between HIV-1 subtypes.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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