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AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2001 Aug 10;17(12):1217-22.

Molecular characterization of a highly divergent HIV type 1 isolate obtained early in the AIDS epidemic from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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Department of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 35294, USA.


Numerous complete human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) genomes have been characterized for contemporary viruses, but few isolates obtained early in the HIV-1 epidemic have been studied. In this article, we describe the molecular characterization of an HIV-1 isolate (83CD003) that was obtained from an AIDS patient in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 1983. The complete 83CD003 genome was sequenced in its entirety and found to encode uninterrupted open reading frames for all viral genes. Phylogenetic analysis revealed 83CD003 was a member of the major (M) group of HIV -1, but did not group with any of the known subtypes. Rather, it formed an independent lineage in all regions of its genome that was roughly equidistant from representatives of all other subtypes. Similarly, 83CD003 also did not cluster with any of several unclassified group M sequences that have been reported more recently to circulate in the DRC, suggesting that it may represent an early group M lineage thai is either rare or has gone extinct. The molecular clone of 83CD003 yielded an infectious virus after transfection into mammalian cells and its biological properties can be further studied.

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