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AIDS. 1996 Jan;10(1):31-7.

Evidence for limited within-person evolution of the V3 domain of the HIV-1 envelope in the amsterdam population.

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Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands.



To study the development of the V3 region of the HIV-1 envelope over time, both within subjects and population-wide.


Direct V3 sequences were obtained from viral RNA from seroconversion samples of 138 individuals [32 intravenous drug users (IVDU), 106 homosexual men], as well as from 5-year follow-up samples of 45 of these individuals (11 IVDU, 34 homosexual men).


The population-wide variation of the V3 region in both the seroconversion samples and the 5-year samples steadily increased over consecutive years and were of similar magnitude in each calendar year. The variation in the IVDU group was slightly lower (presumably lagging behind) than in the homosexual group, but also increased over time. The consensus sequence, representing the centre of the swarm of variants, remained almost stationary in 10 years of evolution. The V3 sequences from virions in serum collected 5 years after seroconversion still resembled those from the seroconversion sample, either in overall similarity or in specific (signature) amino acids. Seroconversion and late sequences from a donor-recipient pair were also very similar.


The variation in V3 sequences from seroconversion samples is as large as that in 5-year follow-up samples from the same calendar year, suggesting that there is no strong selection for a particular V3 genotype at transmission. The HIV-1 subtype B quasispecies in a naive population appears to evolve through unbiased expansion around a stationary consensus sequence. Despite its large variability, the V3 region retains many of its individual characteristics after 5 years of infection. This indicates that the sampling moment (relative to the seroconversion data) will not greatly influence the results of phylogenetic analyses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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