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AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2002 Aug 10;18(12):849-56.

Identification of two CRF11-cpx genomes and two preliminary representatives of a new circulating recombinant form (CRF13-cpx) of HIV type 1 in Cameroon.

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  • 1Department of Virology, Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control, SE-171 82 Solna, Sweden.


Recombination is an efficient mechanism of HIV-1 to generate genetic variability. Some of the recombinant forms of HIV-1 that have been described are of epidemic importance, and they are referred to as circulating recombinant forms (CRFs). In this study, we characterized four HIV-1 isolates from Cameroon that had previously been classified as subtype J in the protease gene and as subtype A in the env C2-V5 region. Analyses of the nearly complete genomes revealed that two of the samples (95CM-1816 and 96CM-4496) had the same recombinant structure as CRF11-cpx. The two remaining samples (96CM-1849 and 96CM-4164) constituted a new recombinant virus variant with genomic regions identified as subtypes A, G, J, and CRF01-AE. This mosaic virus structure was found in two individuals who had no direct epidemiological relationship, and may thus represent a new CRF. The fragments that were classified as subtype J in the new recombinant form were more related to subtype J regions of the CRF11-cpx sequences than to the reference strains of subtype J. The complex structures of CRF11-cpx and our new recombinant form, which are both the result of at least four recombination events, exemplify the coming difficulties in characterizing the internal relationships and origins of future recombinant HIV-1 strains. The new recombinant structure has been designated CRF13-cpx in the Los Alamos HIV Sequence Database.

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