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AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2014 Aug;30(8):812-8. doi: 10.1089/AID.2014.0002. Epub 2014 Jul 10.

Phylogenetic analysis of HIV type 1 CRF02_AG in multiple genes in Italian and African patients living in Italy.

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1 Molecular Virology Unit, Microbiology and Virology Department, Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo , Pavia, Italy .


Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) circulating recombinant form (CRF) 02_AG is a major recombinant variant in different geographic areas and is predominant in West and Central Africa. Of particular interest is the increased frequency of CRF02_AG in patients living in Italy. In the present study, phylogenetic analyses were performed on gag, pol (integrase), and env (gp120 and gp41) gene sequences from 34 CRF02_AG-infected patients living in Italy. Thirty out of 34 (89.4%) patients were from western Africa, 3/34 (8.8%) were born in Italy, and 1/34 (2.9%) was from Cuba. Phylogenetic analysis revealed the presence of a well-supported clade (aLRT score>0.75) of sequences only in gp120 and gp41 trees. Evolutionary rate estimation showed a faster evolution for the gp120 gene with respect to the gag, integrase, and gp41 genes. This finding was confirmed by the analysis of interpatient variability. Intrapatient variability was greater in gp120 gene sequences; 10/19 (52.6%; p<0.001) patients had a ratio of dN/dS>1 as compared with gag, integrase, and gp41 gene sequences with dN/dS ratios<1. In summary, phylogenetic analyses of CRF02_AG strains offer a perspective on intrapatient and interpatient variability among CRF02_AG-infected patients living in Italy. In addition, divergent phylogenetic relationships were observed among different genomic regions.

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