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PLoS One
Characterization of Partial and Near Full-Length Genomes of HIV-1 Strains Sampled from Recently Infected Individuals in São Paulo, Brazil

Sabri Saeed Sanabani1,2,3*, E´ velyn Regina de Souza Pastena4, Antonio Charlys da Costa2,4, Vanessa Pouza Martinez4, Walter Kleine-Neto2,3, Ana Carolina Soares de Oliveira2,4, Mariana Melillo Sauer1, Katia Cristina Bassichetto5, Solange Maria Santos Oliveira5, Helena Tomoko Iwashita Tomiyama1, Ester Cerdeira Sabino3,4, Esper Georges Kallas1


October 14, 2011

Background

Genetic variability is a major feature of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and is considered the key factor frustrating efforts to halt the HIV epidemic. A proper understanding of HIV-1 genomic diversity is a fundamental prerequisite for proper epidemiology, genetic diagnosis, and successful drugs and vaccines design. Here, we report on the partial and near full-length genomic (NFLG) variability of HIV-1 isolates from a well-characterized cohort of recently infected patients in São Paul, Brazil.

Methodology

HIV-1 proviral DNA was extracted from the peripheral blood mononuclear cells of 113 participants. The NFLG and partial fragments were determined by overlapping nested PCR and direct sequencing. The data were phylogenetically analyzed.

Results

Of the 113 samples (90.3% male; median age 31 years; 79.6% homosexual men) studied, 77 (68.1%) NFLGs and 32 (29.3%) partial fragments were successfully subtyped. Of the successfully subtyped sequences, 88 (80.7%) were subtype B sequences, 12 (11%) BF1 recombinants, 3 (2.8%) subtype C sequences, 2 (1.8%) BC recombinants and subclade F1 each, 1 (0.9%) CRF02 AG, and 1 (0.9%) CRF31 BC. Primary drug resistance mutations were observed in 14/101 (13.9%) of samples, with 5.9% being resistant to protease inhibitors and nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTI) and 4.9% resistant to non-NRTIs. Predictions of viral tropism were determined for 86 individuals. X4 or X4 dual or mixed-tropic viruses (X4/DM) were seen in 26 (30.2%) of subjects. The proportion of X4 viruses in homosexuals was detected in 19/69 (27.5%).

Conclusions

Our results confirm the existence of various HIV-1 subtypes circulating in São Paulo, and indicate that subtype B account for the majority of infections. Antiretroviral (ARV) drug resistance is relatively common among recently infected patients. The proportion of X4 viruses in homosexuals was significantly higher than the proportion seen in other study populations.

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