Genetic diversification and recombination of HIV type 1 group M in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo

Chunfu Yang, Ming Li, John L.K. Mokili, Jorn Winter, Ndongala M. Lubaki, Kashamuka M. Mwandagalirwa, Mwamba J. Kasali, Atibu J. Losoma, Thomas C. Quinn, Robert C. Bollinger, Renu B. Lal

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22 Scopus citations


As the HIV-1 pandemic becomes increasingly complex, the genetic characterization of HIV strains bears important implications for vaccine research. To better understand the molecular evolution of HIV-1 viral diversity, we performed a comparative molecular analysis of HIV strains collected from high-risk persons in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Analysis of the gag-p24, env-C2V3 and -gp41 regions from 83 specimens collected in 1999-2000 revealed that 44 (53%) had concordant subtypes in the three regions (14 subsubtype A1, 10 subtype G, 8 subtype D, 5 subtype C, 2 each subsubtype F1 and CRF01_AE, and one each of subtypes H and J, and subsubtype A2, while the remaining 39 (47%) had mosaic genomes comprising multiple subtype combinations. Similar multisubtype patterns were also observed in 24 specimens collected in 1985. Sequence analysis of the gag-pol region (2.1 kb) from 21 discordant specimens in the gag-p24, env-C2V3 and -gp41 regions in 1985 and 1999-2000 further confirmed the complex recombinant patterns. Despite the remarkable similarity in overall subtype distribution, the intra- and intersubtype distances of major subtypes A1 and G increased significantly from 1985 to 1999-2000 (p = 0.018 and p = 0.0016, respectively). Given the complexity of HIV-1 viruses circulating in DRC, efforts should focus on the development of vaccines that result in cross-clade immunity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)661-666
Number of pages6
JournalAIDS Research and Human Retroviruses
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases


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