Selection of HIV variants with signature genotypic characteristics during heterosexual transmission

Manish Sagar, Oliver Laeyendecker, Sandra Lee, Jordyn Gamiel, Maria J. Wawer, Ronald H. Gray, David Serwadda, Nelson K. Sewankambo, James C. Shepherd, Jonathan Toma, Wei Huang, Thomas C. Quinn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


Background. Newly infected subjects acquire a limited number of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) variants with specific genotypic and phenotypic features from the array of viruses present in a chronically infected transmitting partner. Methods. We examined HIV-1 envelope sequences from the earliest available serum sample after HIV-1 acquisition in 13 newly infected subjects and from their epidemiologically linked HIV-1-infected heterosexual partner. Samples from both members were collected on the same day in the Rakai Community Cohort Study. Results. Ten couples were infected with subtype D HIV-1, and 3 pairs had subtype A HIV-1. Newly infected subjects acquired a subset of the viruses that were circulating in the transmitting partner; transmitted variants had less diversity and divergence and were more closely related to the ancestral sequences. The majority of signature amino acid differences among donor and recipient sequences were in and immediately following the V3 loop. Envelopes from recipients were significantly shorter and had a lower V3 charge than envelopes from donors, but there was no significant difference in the number of potential N-linked glycosylation sites. Conclusion. A minority subset of HIV-1 variants with signature genotypes is favored for transmission in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)580-589
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 15 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Infectious Diseases


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