Journal of medical virology

The biological characteristics of predominant strains of HIV-1 genotype: modeling of HIV-1 infection among men who have sex with men.

PMID 25655808


To investigate the molecular subtypes of prevalent HIV-1 strains and characterize the genetics of dominant strains among men who have sex with men. Molecular epidemiology surveys in this study concentrated on the prevalent HIV-1 strains in Liaoning province by year. 229 adult patients infected with HIV-1 and part of a high-risk group of men who have sex with men were recruited. Reverse transcription and nested PCR amplification were performed. Sequencing reactions were conducted and edited, followed by codon-based alignment. NJ phylogenetic tree analyses detected two distinct CRF01_AE phylogenetic clusters, designated clusters 1 and 2. Clusters 1 and 2 accounted for 12.8% and 84.2% of sequences in the pol gene and 17.6% and 73.1% of sequences in the env gene, respectively. Another six samples were distributed on other phylogenetic clusters. Cluster 1 increased significantly from 5.6% to 20.0%, but cluster 2 decreased from 87.5% to 80.0%. Genetic distance analysis indicated that CRF01_AE cluster 1 in Liaoning was homologous to epidemic CRF01_AE strains, but CRF01_AE cluster 2 was different from other scattered strains. Additionally, significant differences were found in tetra-peptide motifs at the tip of V3 loop between cluster 1 and 2; however, differences in coreceptor usage were not detected. This study shows that subtype CRF01_AE strain may be the most prevalent epidemic strain in the men who have sex with men. Genetic characteristics of the subtype CRF01_AE cluster strain in Liaoning showed homology to the prevalent strains of men who have sex with men in other parts of China.