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AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 1993 Oct;9(10):997-1006.

Diversity of V3 region sequences of human immunodeficiency viruses type 1 from the central African Republic.

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  • 1Public Health Research Institute, New York, New York 10016.


Nucleotide sequences of the central portion of gp120, including the third hypervariable (V3) loop, were obtained from lymphocytes cocultivated with SupT1 cells from 29 AIDS patients in Bangui, Central African Republic. These sequences displayed significantly greater diversity (average distance, 23%) than has been previously observed in isolates from comparably restricted geographical areas. Isolates belonging to four major subtypes of HIV-1 were found; the only subtype not represented was the North American/European subtype B. Unlike the situation in Zaire and Uganda, where subtypes A and D account equally for virtually all isolates of HIV-1, the predominant subtypes in the Central African Republic, accounting for two-thirds of the isolates, were subtypes A (10 isolates) and E (9 isolates). Subtype E represents a group of variants that have previously been found only in Thailand. Only one isolate belonging to subtype D was found. Also recovered were two isolates of subtype C, a subtype associated with southern African and Indian isolates but not previously detected in central Africa. These isolates, although clearly clustering with subtype C, formed a distinct subset, differing from one another by 8.8% and from the Indian and South African subtype C isolates by an average of 22.5%. High interpatient, intrasubtype variation was also seen among the CAR subtype A (average pairwise difference, 19.3%) and subtype E (10.9%) isolates. The diversity of V3 sequences in this set has implications for immunization protocols that rely on the recognition of V3. This study underscores the necessity of basing intervention strategies on knowledge of the particular sequences present in the target population or geographical area.

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