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AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 1998 Mar 1;14(4):311-8.

Serotyping of HIV type 1 infections: definition, relationship to viral genetic subtypes, and assay evaluation. UNAIDS Network for HIV-1 Isolation and Characterization.

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Department of Genito-Urinary Medicine and Communicable Diseases, Imperial College School of Medicine at St Mary's, London, United Kingdom.


V3 serotyping refers to a system based on binding of antibody in patient sera to V3-loop peptides derived from HIV-1 env genetic subtypes. The V3x serotype represents reactivity of serum from an HIV-1-infected patient (regardless of viral genetic subtype), which reacts preferentially to a V3 peptide derived from the X subtype sequence. We have classified HIV-1 serotypes, determined the relationship between the HIV-1 V3 serotypes and viral genetic subtypes in a large study (n = 125), and evaluated the performance of three different V3 peptide-binding assays. Seven HIV-1 V3 serotypes were identified: A, B, B-Br, B-Th, C, D, and E. Serotypes B-Br and B-Th represent sera that react specifically to peptides derived from Brazilian B (B-Br, GWGR) and Thai B (B-Th, GPGQ) strains. The HIV-1 V3 B, C, and E serotypes correlated closely with their viral env genetic subtypes; 19-26 of 32 B sera (59-79%), 3-4 of 4 C sera (75-100%), and 19-22 of 23 E sera (83-96%) were identified as serotypes B, C, and E, respectively. In contrast, two major V3 serotypes were classified in A sera: A (14-18 of 36 [40-50%]) and C (12-19 of 36 [33-54%]). Similarly, two major V3 serotypes were classified in D sera: B (6-10 of 20 [30-50%]) and D (9-12 of 20 [45-60%]). Serotyping of subtype E sera showed the best concordance with genetic subtypes by all assays. Overall, HIV-1 V3 serotyping produced consistent results among three laboratories. However, HIV-1 V3 serotypes do not distinguish all HIV-1 genetic subtypes. The relative biological significance of the V3 serotypes remains to be elucidated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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